Report on the Delegation of the البحرين. (“albahrain”) domain representing Bahrain in Arabic script to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)

10 January 2020

This report is a summary of the materials reviewed as part of the process for the delegation of the البحرين. (“albahrain”) top-level domain. It includes details regarding the proposed delegation, evaluation of the documentation pertinent to the request, and actions undertaken in connection with processing the delegation.

Factual Information

Country

The “BH” ISO 3166-1 two-letter country code from which the application’s eligibility derives is designated for use to represent Bahrain.

String

The domain under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level is “البحرين”. This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--mgbcpq6gpa1a”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0627 U+0644 U+0628 U+062D U+0631 U+064A U+0646.

In the Arabic language, the string has a transliteration equivalent to “albahrain” in English. The string is expressed using the Arabic script.

Chronology of events

In 2002, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was established by Legislative Decree No. 48 as the government agency responsible for regulating, licensing and developing the telecommunications market in Bahrain.

In 2008, the Minister of Telecommunications of Bahrain issued Resolution No. 3, which assigned the TRA responsibility for the management of the .BH top-level domain.

In March 2012, a request to transfer management of the .BH top-level domain from the Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) to TRA was completed.

In July 2016, TRA hosted stakeholder meetings to discuss potential policy changes including security and stability best practices, setting up a registry-registrar model, and removing pre-registration restrictions.

In September 2018, an application was made to the ICANN ccTLD IDN Fast Track Process to have the string “البحرين” recognized as representing Bahrain in Arabic script.

In October of 2018, the Minister of Telecommunications issued Resolution No. 11 of 2018 regulating the registration and use of second and third level domain names within Bahrain’s domain name. Section 2 of this resolution assigned TRA the responsibility for managing the IDN representing Bahrain.

On 6 November 2018, a review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that the applied-for string “presents none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS identified in Module 4 of the Fast Track Implementation Plan, and presents an acceptably low risk of user confusion." The request for the “البحرين” string to represent Bahrain was subsequently approved.

In June 2019, TRA initiated a request for delegation of the البحرين. top-level domain.

Proposed Manager and Contacts

The proposed manager is TRA, a government agency established in 2002. It is based in Bahrain.

The proposed administrative contact is Anbar Dhahi, Technical Affairs Supervisor at TRA. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Bahrain.

The proposed technical contact is Nathan Van Overloop, Chief Technology Officer at CentralNIC.

Evaluation of the Request

String Eligibility

The top-level domain is eligible for delegation, as the string has been deemed an appropriate representation of Bahrain through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and Bahrain is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.

Public Interest

Support was provided by the following:

The application is consistent with known applicable laws and regulations in Bahrain. The proposed manager undertakes responsibilities to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.

Based In Country

The proposed manager is constituted in Bahrain. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Bahrain. The registry is to be operated in Bahrain.

Stability

The application does not involve a transfer of domain operations from an existing domain registry, and therefore stability aspects relating to registry transfer are not relevant.

The application is not known to be contested.

Competency

The application has provided information on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the proposed new domain.

TRA will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the domain, while CentralNIC will provide registry backend services, training and support to TRA.

Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.

Evaluation Procedure

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 local Internet communities 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:

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.