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Press Release on ICANN-DoC-NSI Tentative Agreements | ICANN, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Network Solutions, Inc., Announce Tentative Agreements on Future of Domain Name System

(Marina del Rey, CA) -- The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced today that it had tentatively reached a set of agreements with the U.S. Department of Commerce and Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), to resolve outstanding differences among the three parties.

The agreements have been posted for a thirty-day public comment period on the ICANN website at and will come before the Board for final consideration at its November meeting.

"The ICANN Board is pleased that the lengthy negotiations over these issues have produced a workable structure based on compromises by all sides," said Esther Dyson, Interim Chairman of the ICANN Initial Board. "Our next step is to consider the input of the engineers, businesses, academics, individual users and other interested parties that make up the worldwide Internet. We look forward to welcoming Network Solutions as an ICANN accredited registrar and to working with them and the community to develop consensus policies regarding the management of the Domain Name System."

The agreements consist of: (1) a Registry Agreement between ICANN and NSI; (2) a revised Registrar Accreditation Agreement between ICANN and all registrars in .com, .net, and .org; (3) a revised post-testbed Registrar-License and Agreement between NSI as registry and registrars; (4) an amendment to the Cooperative Agreement between the Department of Commerce and NSI; and (5) an amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Commerce and NSI.

Among the key provisions set forth in the agreements:

  • NSI will recognize ICANN and agree to operate the .com, .org and .net registries in accordance with the Registry Agreement between ICANN and NSI and future consensus policies adopted by ICANN.
  • NSI agrees to become an ICANN accredited registrar for the .com, .org, and .net domains. The ICANN accreditation agreement has been revised to include improvements suggested by registrars during the testbed phase.
  • NSI has agreed to participate in the funding of ICANN through registry and registrar fees, provided that they are equitably apportioned.
  • All accredited registrars (including NSI) will be required to provide continued public access to "WHOIS" data.
  • The InterNIC website will be maintained as a public information site with a directory of links to accredited registrars.

"Today’s agreements signal the end of the months of uncertainty which have limited ICANN’s ability to address its responsibilities," said Mike Roberts, ICANN’s Interim President & CEO. "Subject to the comments of the global Internet community, the staff and I look forward to working with the Board and the community to implement these agreements."


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit corporation that was formed to assume responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, and domain name system management functions now performed under U.S. Government contract by IANA and other entities.


Pam Brewster

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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."