|Name of your Administration: National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), U.S. Department of Commerce
ccTLD code: .us
Country: United States
Contact person: Kelly K. Levy, Associate Administrator, Office of Policy Analysis and Development, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
I. GOVERNMENT-CCTLD ISSUES:
A. Government involvement in the domain
1) How does government involvement or non-involvement manifest itself in your country’s ccTLD? [Please indicate the situation(s) which best describe(s) your ccTLD and provide details]
Is there direct control of the ccTLD?
Is the ccTLD part of a government ministry?
Is the ccTLD a subsidiary company of a government agency or ministry?
Is there a formal contract between the government and the ccTLD?
Is there an ongoing, formal relationship between the government and the ccTLD?
Has there been a governmental endorsement of the ccTLD’s role and management?
Is there an informal, unofficial or ad hoc relationship between the government and the ccTLD?
Is there no relationship between the government and the ccTLD?
Details: The .us domain is the country code top level domain (.usTLD) of the Internet domain name system that corresponds to the United States. The .usTLD has, since its inception, operated pursuant to contractual arrangements between the U.S. Government, which maintains direct control over the domain space and a designated administrator. On July 12, 2001, the U.S. Department of Commerce (Department) issued a written solicitation for centralized management and coordination of the .usTLD. Among other conditions, the contractor was required to be incorporated in the United States, maintain and have a physical address in the United States, and provide and perform the required registry services in the United States.
On October 26, 2001, NeuStar, Inc. and the Department entered into a four year purchase order (contract), with two optional one-year extensions, setting forth the terms under which NeuStar will provide technical management of the .us domain and enhanced services for consumers. NeuStar is precluded from charging the U.S. Government for performance of the .us TLD services, but may establish and collect fees from third parties for performance of the requirements of the contract, such fees to be reasonable and approved by the U.S. Government before going into effect. A copy of the .us contract is available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usca/index.html.
2) Are there any plans to change the situation? [If so, please indicate which situation you expect would prevail in the future.]
3) What is the status of government-ccTLD relations? [Please indicate the situation(s) which best describe(s) your ccTLD and provide details]
Is there legislation that grants the government ultimate authority over the ccTLD?
b) Has the government made recent efforts to:
Pass legislation that affects the ccTLD?
Establish a commission or body to examine ccTLD management or legislation?
Speak in parliament, a national legislature, in public or in other circumstances about ccTLD management issues?
Consider formalizing the ccTLD-government relationship?
Does your country’s ccTLD make decisions independently of the government?
See .us contract at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usca/index.html for contractor requirements.
The recently enacted “Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act,” Pub. Law No. 107-317 (2003), required the Department of Commerce to establish a second level domain within the .us domain to provide access to material that is suitable for and not harmful to minors. The Department of Commerce and its contractor are in the process of implementing this statute. On February 13, 2003, NTIA issued Modification 7 to its contract with NeuStar to comply with the mandates of the Act. A copy of Modification 7 is available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usca/kidsus_02142003.pdf. See www.kids.us for additional details.
4) Are there any plans to change the situation? [If so, please indicate which situation you expect would prevail in the future.]
5) Which government agencies are responsible for government-ccTLD relations? [Please indicate the situation(s) which best describe(s) your ccTLD and provide details]
Telecommunications regulatory body?
Ministry of Telecommunications?
Ministry of Science and/or Technology?
Ministry of Justice?
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, is responsible for government-ccTLD relations.
6) Are there any plans to change the situation? [If so, please indicate which situation you expect would prevail in the future.]
B. Internet Governance Participation
1) Does the government send a representative to or otherwise participate in meetings of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (GAC)? [If not, please provide details]
2) Does the government or ccTLD send a representative to or otherwise participate in ICANN meetings? [If not, please provide details]
3) a) Please indicate whether there are contracts between the government and ICANN and/or the ccTLD and ICANN:
Between ICANN and the government?
Between ICANN and the ccTLD?
b) Please indicate the key factors that contributed to the ccTLD or government deciding to formalize the relationship.
The Department has a contract with ICANN for the performance of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and a joint project agreement related to the transition to private sector management of the Internet domain name system.
c) Did any impediments arise in formalizing this relationship?
II. CCTLD STRUCTURE & POLICIES:
1) What kind of structure best defines the ccTLD? [Please indicate the situation(s) which best describe(s) your ccTLD and provide details]
A non-profit corporation or organization
A public entity
An academic entity
Operated by an individual
Details: On October 26, 2001, NeuStar, Inc. and the Department entered into a four year purchase order (contract), with two optional one-year extensions, setting forth the terms under which NeuStar will provide technical management of the .us domain and enhanced services for consumers. The contract is available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usca/index.html.
2) How does your country’s ccTLD meet its operating costs? [Please indicate the situation(s) which best describe(s) your ccTLD and provide details]
Through registration fees.
Through membership fees.
Through government contributions
Voluntarily run TLD
The domain is commercially run by an out-of-country entity
Other – please provide details
Details: NeuStar is permitted to establish and collect fees from third parties for performance of the requirements of the contract, such fees to be reasonable and approved by the U.S. Government.
B. Board composition
If your ccTLD has a board of directors or advisors, please give details about the following:
1) What is the size of the board?
The NeuStar Board of Directors has five members: Jeffrey Ganek, Dr. Henry Kressel, Joseph P. Landy, Henry Geller and Dr. Kenneth Picka.
2) Is there public participation in the nomination or voting process for board members? [If yes, please provide details]
3) If there is government involvement on the board, what role does it play?
Voting member in a government capacity
Voting member in a personal capacity
Non-voting member in a government capacity
Non-voting member in a personal capacity
C. General ccTLD policy
1) Please rate the following objectives of your ccTLD from 1 to 9, where most important is 1 and least important is 9.
— Registration size of the TLD
— Low cost of registration
— Ease of registration
— Efficiency of domain name system in your country
— The local Internet community’s cooperation in the ccTLD management
— Preservation of the public interest in the domain name system
— Align with the government’s general telecommunication policy or other policies
— Protection of intellectual property rights
— Transparency and accountability in ccTLD management
See contract for priorities at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usca/index.html.
2) Has the board/executive had any consultations in the past three years about the future policy direction or structure of the ccTLD? [If yes, please explain or provide references.]
3) Are the ccTLD’s goals and objectives consistent with your country’s telecommunication policy? [Please provide details or references].
Details: The .usTLD is operated by NeuStar pursuant to a contract with the U.S. Government. As such, NeuStar is required to comply with all contract terms and conditions.
4) Does your ccTLD actively pursue the public interest in the domain name system in your country? [Please provide details or references].
Details: Pursuant to its contract with the Department, NeuStar is obligated to provide certain public interest objectives, including kids.us, other public interest second-level spaces, and improvements in technical management for state and local governments.
D. Policy making approach
1) How does/has your ccTLD formulate its policies? [Please indicate the situation(s) which best describe(s) your ccTLD and provide details or references]
Through public consultations
Through government initiatives or directives
Through board of directors
Through employee/manager initiatives
Details: The .us Policy Council is an advisory body which advises NeuStar in the development of policy issues affecting the .usTLD. All new policies developed, including those affecting technical management of the space, must be approved by the Department. Additional information on the .us Policy Council is available at http://www.neustar.us/policycouncil/index.html.
2) Who supervises and/or approves the policies (apart from general supervision by anti-trust authorities)?
ccTLD itself (no external supervision apart from anti-trust authorities)
E. WHOIS policy
1) Has your country’s ccTLD established a WHOIS policy that addresses public access to registrant information? [If yes, please provide details or references]
Details: WHOIS service is the usTLD required by the Department’s contract with NeuStar. See Sections B.2 and B.5 of the contract available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usca/uspo.pdf.
F. Dispute Resolution Policy
1) Has your country’s ccTLD implemented a domain name dispute resolution policy?
2) If yes, is the policy:
A national implementation of the ICANN UDRP
A Country-specific policy modeled on the ICANN UDRP [please give details]
A Country-specific policy unlike the ICANN UDRP
Based on the ccTLD best practices for the prevention and resolution of Intellectual Property disputes published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Details: NeuStar has established the usTLD Dispute Resolution Policy (usDRP), modeled after ICANN’s Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy. The usDRP combines the globally accepted Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for the gTLDs with improvements developed in conjunction with the WIPO for the administration of domain name disputes.
3) If your country’s ccTLD has implemented a domain name dispute resolution policy, who provides the dispute resolution services?
ccTLD conducts its own
Government or non-profit service
G. Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) policy
1) Does your country’s ccTLD have a policy on IDN? [If yes, please provide details or
III. Commercial issues:
1) Does your country’s ccTLD have local presence requirements or restrictions for registration? [If yes, please provide details or references]
Details: The .us Nexus Requirements are set forth in Section B.3.1 of the Department’s contract with NeuStar. See http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usca/uspo.pdf and http://www.neustar.us/policies/docs/ustld_nexus_requirements.pdf. See also http://www.neustar.us/policies/docs/nexus_dispute_policy.pdf for NeuStar Nexus policy dispute resolution.
2) Does your country’s ccTLD have other restrictions on registration? [If yes, please provide details or references]
See Registration Review Policy at http://www.neustar.us/policies/docs/registration_review_policy.pdf.
3) What registrar model does your country’s ccTLD employ?
Only the ccTLD can register domains
A subsidiary of the ccTLD manages domain registration
The ccTLD has contracted out the registration of domains to a single company
The ccTLD has contracted out the registration of domains to multiple registrars
The ccTLD operates a competitive and open reseller model
4) What is the price for ccTLD domain registration in your country? [Please indicate the cost of a one-year registration]
NeuStar charges a wholesale rate of $5.50 per domain name to registrars. Registrars in turn charge their customer a market price that currently ranges between $10 and $25 per year.
5) Are there different registration prices for non-residents?
6) Who supervises and/or approves the prices for ccTLD domain registration in your country (apart from general supervision by anti-trust authorities)?
ccTLD itself (no external supervision apart from anti-trust authorities)
Other [please provide detail]
Details: The Department approves wholesale rates charged by NeuStar. The retail rates charged by registrars are market-based.
7) How fast is your country’s ccTLD registration process? [Please indicate the situation(s) which best describe(s) your ccTLD and provide details]
We provide immediate online registration
We have an email-based registration process
We have a mail-in/fax registration process
Details: Domain names for the usTLD may be purchased directly through any of NeuStar’s .us -accredited Registrars. The process, therefore, varies among registrars. See usTLD Administrator-Registrar Agreeement at http://www.neustar.us/registrars/accreditation/usTLD_AdministratorRegistrar_Agreement.pdf
IV. ccTLD Background:
1) Please provide any additional documentation, URL references, or other information that is relevant to the ccTLD in your country. We would in particular appreciate any available information on the historical development of your ccTLD.
Summary of the .us Contract
The Department awarded NeuStar a four-year contract (with two one-year, optional extensions) which set forth the terms for the technical management of .us and a number of enhanced services for .us consumers. In the contract, the Department of Commerce outlines the U.S. Government’s objectives for the .us ccTLD:
To ensure that the procedures and a framework of accountability for the delegation and the administration of the .us ccTLD evolve into a more robust, certain, and reliable system.
To promote increased use of the .us ccTLD by the U.S. Internet community (including small businesses, consumers, Internet users, not-for-profit organizations, and local governments (i.e., state, city, and county), among others), with residence or a bona fide presence in the United States) through introduction of enhanced services, dissemination of information through advertising and/or other appropriate mechanisms, and simplification of registration services including direct registration.
To create a centrally administered and efficiently managed structure that ensures both registrant/ consumer confidence and infrastructure stability through coordination of delegations as well as other appropriate functions.
To create a stable, flexible, and balanced environment within the .us ccTLD that is conducive to innovation and that will meet the future demands of potential registrants.
To ensure continued stability of the domain name systems as a whole and the .us ccTLD, particularly throughout the transition period from the current management structure into the new structure developed and maintained under the contract.
To manage the .us ccTLD consistent with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) technical management of the DNS.
To allow for the adequate protection of intellectual property in the .us ccTLD.
To establish and maintain consistent communication between the Department, the Contractor and ICANN. This includes representation of the .us ccTLD in the ICANN ccTLD constituency and contribution to ICANN’s operating costs as apportioned to the .us ccTLD through the ICANN budget process.
To promote robust competition within the .us ccTLD and in particular registration services that will lead to greater choice, new and better services for users.
The Contractor is required to be incorporated in the United States, maintain a have a physical address in the country, and provide the registry services in the United States. The Contractor is precluded from charging the U.S. Government for the .us ccTLD services, but is permitted to establish and collect reasonable fees from third parties for performance of the contract requirements, after approval by the U.S. Government.
The contract also requires the Contractor to provide:
Core Registry Functions, including all systems, software, hardware, facilities, infrastructure, and operation for: the operation and maintenance of the primary, authoritative server for the .us ccTLD; the operations and/ or administration of a constellation of secondary servers for the .us ccTLD; the compilation, generation and propagation of the .us ccTLD zone file(s); the maintenance of an accurate and up-to-date database of .us ccTLD sub-delegation managers; the establishment of a data escrow for .us ccTLD zone file and domain name registration information, including chain of registration data; the compliance with applicable Internet Engineering Task Force and applicable ICANN policies for these functions; and promotion of awareness and registration in the .us ccTLD, including maintaining website with up-to-date policy and registration information for the .us ccTLD.
Core Policy Requirements, including implementation of a United States nexus requirement, a uniform domain dispute resolution procedure, and a sunrise policy; adoption of ICANN policies pertaining to open ccTLD’s, and conformance with the Government Advisory Committee Principles.
Locality-based .us ccTLD Structure Functions, including service for existing delegates and registrants and for undelegated third level sub-domains, modernization of locality-based .us ccTLD processes, coordination with existing locality-based .us TLD users, an investigation of compliance with existing locality-based .us ccTLD policies, and development of a database of .us ccTLD delegated Managers and a registrant WHOIS database.
Expanded .us ccTLD Space Function, including development and implementation of a shared registration system, an accreditation system of usTLD registrars, a technical certification of usTLD registrars, a WHOIS database, and a community outreach plan. The Contractor is prohibited from serving as a registrar in the .us ccTLD.