The Victorian government has signed a registry agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), moving the .melbourne domain one step closer to the Web. The first .melbourne domains are likely to come online in mid-2014, according to ARI Registry Services.
The state government has signed a 10-year contract with ARI to manage the new top-level domain.
“The management of .melbourne on behalf of Victorian government and the City of Melbourne is going to be one of the largest and most significant digital branding opportunities for this State and it’s a major achievement for ARI Registry Services to win this contract for the next 10 years,” ARI CEO Adrian Kinderis said in a statement.
.melbourne passed ICANN’s initial evaluation in May last year. The .melbourne application scored 26 during the evaluation for technical capability, with a minimum score of 22 required for ICANN approval. In the financial assessment it scored 11, with eight the minimum score acceptable to ICANN.
A "conservative" estimate previously prepared by ARI indicated in excess of 27,000 applications for .melbourne domain names can be expected.
The Victorian and NSW governments in October 2011 issued a joint tender seeking assistance in applying for gTLD. In February 2012, the state governments selected ARI to prepare their gTLD applications to ICANN
ARI has set up a Web page where organisations and individuals can register their interest in a .melbourne domain name.
ICANN’s gTLD process will massively expand the Internet’s name space. In January ICANN announced a milestone for the gTLD process, with more than 100 new gTLDs added to the root zone.
More than 30 Australian businesses and non-profit organisations have applied for new TLDs. Australian applicants include banks (.anz for ANZ; .nab and .ubank for the NAB; and .netbank, .commbank and .cba for the Commonwealth Bank); universities, including Bond University, LatTrobe University, Monash and RMIT; SBS; Australia Post; the AFL; and ISP iiNet.
The gTLD process has not been all smooth sailing for ICANN, with the organisation copping flack for several aspects of the program, including its glacial pace.
ICANN is currently developing a new global governance model for the Internet’s Domain Name System in the wake of the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration announcing in March that it will end its formal relationship with the organisation next year.
The severing of the Domain Name Systems formal ties to the US government has received support from Australia’s communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull.