Report on the Transfer of the .AO (Angola) top-level domain to the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technologies
5 June 2020
This report is a summary of the materials reviewed as part of the process for the transfer of the .AO (Angola) top-level domain. It includes details regarding the proposed transfer, evaluation of the documentation pertinent to the request, and actions undertaken in connection with processing the transfer.
The “AO” ISO 3166-1 code from which the application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent Angola.
Chronology of events
The .AO top-level domain has been managed by the Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade Agostinho Neto (the Engineering Faculty of the Agostinho Neto University) since it was initially delegated in the mid-1990’s.
In February 2000, Fundação para a Computação Científica Nacional (FCCN), the organization responsible for the management of the .PT (Portugal) top-level domain, began providing technical services for the .AO top-level domain and was listed as its technical contact in the IANA Root Zone Database.
In May 2013, after a restructuring of FCCN's mission and responsibilities, a new entity named Associação DNS.PT (DNS.PT) was created to manage the .PT top-level domain and provide technical services for several other ccTLDs, including .AO.
In October 2014, the IANA Root Zone Database was updated to reflect the .AO technical contact change to DNS.PT.
On 25 January 2018, through Presidential Decree No. 16/18, the mission of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technologies (MTTI) was established as the entity responsible for the policy and strategy of telecommunications and information technologies in Angola as well as overseeing activities related to the provision of services in those areas.
On 21 August 2018, Presidential Decree No. 107/18 approved, on behalf of the Angolan government, the transfer of the management and operation of the .AO top-level domain to MTTI and authorized MTTI to “sub-delegate and on behalf of the Angolan State to adopt the necessary measures to ensure the total transfer of the management and operalization of” the .AO top-level domain.
On 1 October 2018, MTTI Decree No. 4820 created a working committee for transferring management of the .AO top-level domain to MTTI in order to “strengthen the security and protection of the digital sovereignty of the Angolan State in cyberspace, with technical and administrative measures”. The committee was coordinated by Manuel Gomes da Conceição Homem, the proposed administrative contact, and composed of five members including the General Secretary, the Director of the Legal Office, the National Director of Telecommunications, the National Director of the Information Society and Meteorology and the Director of the National Institute for the Development of the Information Society.
On 16 March 2020, MTTI initiated a request for the transfer of the .AO top-level domain.
Proposed Manager and Contacts
The proposed manager is the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technologies. It is based in Angola.
The proposed administrative contact is Manuel Gomes da Conceição Homem, Secretary of State for Information Technologies.
The administrative contact is understood to be based in Angola.
The proposed technical contact will remain unchanged and is Assis Guerreiro, Technical Manager at DNS.PT.
Evaluation of the Request
The top-level domain is eligible for transfer as the string for Angola is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.
The incumbent manager is Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade Agostinho Neto. Informed consent for the transfer of .AO top-level domain to Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technologies was provided by Alice de Fatima P.C. Almeida, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade Agostinho Neto.
Letters of support or non-objection were provided by the following:
- Silvio Almada, Chairman of the Board of the Angolan Association of Internet Service Providers, a national nonprofit association made up of 22 members.
- Adilson Miguel dos Santos, Chairman of the Board of Angola Telecom, the national telecom operator.
- Vicente Lopes Joao, President of the Angolan Computing Society.
- Leonel Inácio Augusto, Board Chairperson of the Angolan Institute of Communications.
- João Sebastião Teta, Professor at the Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade Agostinho Neto.
MTTI held a number of events over the past few years that have allowed significantly interested parties in Angola to participate in the ongoing management of the .AO top-level domain and plans to continue encouraging public participation through telecommunications and information technology related events.
The application is consistent with known applicable laws in Angola. The proposed manager undertakes the responsibility to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.
Based in Country
The proposed manager is constituted in Angola. The administrative contact is understood to be a resident of Angola.
MTTI has split the transfer of the .AO top-level domain into two phases and only administrative changes related to the domain manager are included in the first phase. MTTI has a support agreement with DNS.PT to continue operating the registry while providing training to MTTI. The policies, technical responsibilities and procedures will remain unchanged for the time being. The plan to transfer technical operations will be prepared during a second phase.
The application is not known to be contested.
The application has provided information on the technical and operational infrastructures and expertise that will be used to operate the domain.
Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.
PTI is tasked with coordinating the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with ICANN. This includes accepting and evaluating requests for delegation and transfer of top-level domains.
A subset of top-level domains are designated for the significantly interested parties in countries to operate in a way that best suits their local needs. These are known as country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), and are assigned to responsible managers that meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the manager has from its local Internet community, its capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and its applicability under any relevant local laws.
Through the IANA Services performed by PTI, requests are received for delegating new ccTLDs, and transferring or revoking existing ccTLDs. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, the requests are implemented where they are found to meet the criteria.
Purpose of Evaluations
The evaluation of eligibility for ccTLDs, and of evaluating responsible managers charged with operating them, is guided by a number of principles. The objective of the assessment is that the action enhances the secure and stable operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.
In considering requests to delegate or transfer ccTLDs, input is sought regarding the proposed new manager, as well as from persons and organizations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated.
The assessment is focused on the capacity for the proposed manager to meet the following criteria:
The domain should be operated within the country, including having its manager and administrative contact based in the country.
The domain should be operated in a way that is fair and equitable to all groups in the local Internet community.
Significantly interested parties in the domain should agree that the prospective manager is the appropriate party to be responsible for the domain, with the desires of the national government taken very seriously.
The domain must be operated competently, both technically and operationally. Management of the domain should adhere to relevant technical standards and community best practices.
Risks to the stability of the Internet addressing system must be adequately considered and addressed, particularly with regard to how existing identifiers will continue to function.
Method of Evaluation
To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed manager and method of operation. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, various documentation is sought describing: the views of the local internet community on the application; the competencies and skills of the manager to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed manager; and the nature of government support for the proposal.
After receiving this documentation and input, it is analyzed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed manager should the information provided in the original application be deficient. The applicant is given the opportunity to cure any deficiencies before a final assessment is made.
Once all the documentation has been received, various technical checks are performed on the proposed manager’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries correctly. Should any anomalies be detected, PTI will work with the applicant to address the issues.
Assuming all issues are resolved, an assessment is compiled providing all relevant details regarding the proposed manager and its suitability to operate the relevant top-level domain.