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.org Agreement Signed; Transition Plans Announced

3 December 2002

Marina del Rey, California USA (3 December 2002) – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) President and CEO, Stuart Lynn has signed the finalized agreement for the Public Interest Registry (PIR) to operate the .org top-level domain. PIR takes over from VeriSign, the current .org registry operator, as of 1 January 2003.

To ensure a smooth handoff, PIR – a subsidiary of the Internet Society (ISOC) – and VeriSign have planned a 25-day transition period until 25 January 2003, to give ICANN-accredited registrars time to adapt to the new system. ".Org users and registrants should thus not see any interruption of service," said Lynn. PIR has subcontracted with Afilias, the operator of the .info top level domain launched last year, to provide back end services.

.Org is the Internet’s fifth largest top level domain housing over 2.6 million domain names worldwide. PIR is committed to operating the registry in an open manner that will offer new benefits and enhanced services for non-commercial organizations. "For example, new registrations will become operational in a matter of minutes rather than hours or days," Lynn noted.

Earlier this year, the ICANN Board of Directors selected PIR/ISOC, from among 11 organizations bidding to operate the .org top-level domain. VeriSign is relinquishing .org to comply with an agreement they entered into with ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce in May 2001.

ISOC, founded in 1991, has members in more than 100 countries. It is also home to the Internet standard setting bodies, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).