As mentioned in previous issues of IPJ, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) began operation in early November 1998. Recently, ICANN announced that five companies have been selected to participate in the initial testbed phase of the new competitive Shared Registry System. These five participants will be the first to implement the new system for competition in the market for .com, .net, and .org domain name registration services. Currently, registration services for these domains are provided by Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), which has enjoyed an exclusive right to handle registrations under a 1993 Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Government. The five registrars participating in the testbed are, in alphabetical order: America Online, CORE (Internet Council of Registrars), France Telecom/Oleane, Melbourne IT, and register.com.
Under the Cooperative Agreement between NSI and the U.S. Government, the competitive registrar testbed program began on April 26 and will last until June 24, 1999 (Phase I). Following the conclusion of Phase I, the Shared Registry System for the .com, .net, and .org domains will be opened on equal terms to all accredited registrars, meaning that any company that meets ICANN's standards for accreditation will be able to enter the market as a registrar and offer customers competitive domain name registration services in these domains.
Meanwhile, ICANN continues to work on the formation of several supporting organizations, namely the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO), the Address Supporting Organization (ASO), and the Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO). More information is available at: www.icann.org
IETF and Related links
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is responsible for the development of standards for Internet technology. Membership to the IETF is open and you can participate in person or subscribe to the IETF mailing list. The IETF meets three times per year. For a list of future meetings and other IETF information see: http://www.ietf.org
If you want to learn about the latest developments on the research side of networking you should check out SIGCOMM, the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Communications. You can find out more about the group and their annual conference at: http://www.acm.org/sigcomm/sigcomm99
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