|II.||STATEMENT OF CAPABILITIES OF THE APPLICANT AND CONTRACTED SERVICE PROVIDERS|
As stated in the Criteria for Assessing Proposals, "ICANN's first priority is to preserve the stability of the Internet" and "ICANN will place significant emphasis on the demonstrated ability of the applicant or a member of the proposing team to operate a TLD registry of significant scale in a manner that provides affordable services with a high degree of service responsiveness and reliability." This section of the .org Proposal offers the applicant the opportunity to demonstrate its ability to operate the .org registry in that manner.
Throughout this document, operation of the .org registry,
including providing all associated Registry Services, as defined in subsection
1.16 of the model .org Registry Agreement, is referred to as the "Registry
As is demonstrated throughout this proposal, NeuStar has a legacy of providing highly stable, reliable, and technically innovative services in a fair and neutral manner to all facets of the communications industry. NeuStar’s activities range from the operation and administration of generic and country code top level Internet domains to the operation of large-scale database registries critical to the completion of telephone calls in 19 North American Countries as well as Europe. Each of these critical public resources is directly managed by NeuStar to ensure the highest degree of service delivery and customer responsiveness. To facilitate our efforts and to ensure compatibility with global systems, we work closely with standards organizations across many industries in the development of next-generation technologies, services, and protocols that improves the way our existing services are used by our customers and to create new service offerings and applications.
Following this highly successful model, NeuStar will directly manage the .org registry and associated services on our global registry platform. NeuStar currently manages in excess of 800,000 domain names using this highly reliable and scalable platform. In managing the .org registry, NeuStar also would bring to bear its existing staff and customer relation’s teams that are geographically dispersed across Europe, Asia, and North America.
There are several elements of stability that a registry operator must be measured against—technical and operational proficiency, business integrity, policy development and enforcement experience, strong registrar relationships, and financial health. In isolation, these elements do not provide a comprehensive understanding of an operator’s ability to provide a stable environment for .org both today and tomorrow; together, they provide an effective framework for evaluating an ability to create and maintain the stability of .org. Each of these elements and a summary of NeuStar’s demonstrated ability is presented below:
Specific further detail on NeuStar’s proposed solution is contained throughout this proposal. In summary, these discussions describe a track record of performance and lessons learned providing critical technology services across the world, successful execution experience in launching a new gTLD and the transition of an existing ccTLD, proven ability to coordinate with standards organizations, and a history of working effectively with ICANN and stakeholders. Each of these attributes are individually important, but together, provide ample evidence of NeuStar’s ability to seamlessly transition and operate the .org registry to a high degree of service responsiveness and reliability. Specific detail on NeuStar’s unique qualifications can be found in Proposal Section C15.
|C12.||State whether the applicant intends to perform all aspects of the Registry Function, or whether the applicant intends to outsource some or all aspects of the Registry Function to other entities that will provide services or facilities under contract with the applicant. If any portion(s) of the services or facilities will be provided by another entity under contract, please describe which portion(s), state the time period during which they will be provided under contract, and identify what entity will be providing the services or facilities.|
NeuStar will utilize our existing Internet registry architecture to transition .org TLD as we did the .us ccTLD. We have a proven ability and strong track record of demonstrating we can assume complete responsibility for all aspects of the registry function. Likewise, we can also ensure stability of .org during and after transition from the current operator.
To provide highly reliable and responsive services at a competitive price, NeuStar manages all of its registry functions, and will support a representative policy council that will help drive responsiveness to the noncommercial Internet. Our commitment to enhancing the space for the intended user base extends beyond the technological solutions we offer to include direct interaction with our customers and jointly trying to meet the needs of .org registrants. Our ample and unique experience qualifies us to perform all registry services; we are not reliant on other parties to ensure a stable transition and management of .org.
Further, by having sole responsibility for all registry functions, NeuStar eliminates the risks associated with the management of outsourcing providers and ensuring they meet their obligations. Our geographically diverse data centers and nameserver sites are directly under the supervision of our technical and operations staff. This minimizes the risk of failure, as all personnel managing the system have been trained on the functions of our infrastructure and software design, and have authorized access through internal security. The geographic diversity and use of multiple communications service providers adds an additional element of diversity and stability, as we can limit the possibility of a catastrophic failure.
By maintaining the sole responsibility of performing all registry functions, NeuStar can more confidently assert an ability to not only maintain stability, but to maintain a focus on serving the intended base: the noncommercial Internet community. NeuStar will have complete oversight of all activities related to addressing the current and future needs of this constituency and guiding outreach programs that target only the intended base. Our marketing and PR programs are in strict compliance with our registry policies and guidelines, and we have no service offerings that attempt to bundle the .org registry offering with those of any other TLD. This oversight, by a single manager of the Registry functions, will ensure the .org registry has the opportunity to develop a unique identity and not simply become the undifferentiated sibling of another TLD.
Moreover, we have the financial stability to transition
.org and perform the registry function in a secure and stable manner,
properly promote the name space to the noncommercial Internet community,
and to support the .org Global Policy Council. Because we are managing
all major registry functions, we have the ability to confirm we will not
have any stability concerns due to potential solvency problems. Our strong
internal structure—program management, operations, technology support,
registrar relations, and policy staff—will closely manage the .org registry.
Identify by name each entity other than the applicant that will provide any of the following:
|C13.1.||The full legal name, principal
address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the entity, and
the URL of its principal world wide web site.
|C13.2.||A general description of
the entity's business and other activities.
|C13.3.||The entity's type (e.g., corporation, partnership, etc.) and law (e.g., Denmark) under which it is organized. Please state whether the entity is for-profit or non-profit. If it is non-profit, please provide a detailed statement of its mission.|
|C13.4.||Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S
Number (if any) of the entity.
|C13.5.||The number of employees
currently employed by the entity.
|C13.6.||The entity's total revenue
(in US dollars) in the last-ended fiscal year.
For each entity identified in item C13, please
state the scope and terms of the contract under which the facilities or
services will be provided and attach documentary evidence that the entity
has committed to enter into that contract.
|As with C13, this question is not applicable.
[ICANN's evaluation of your response
to item C15 will be a major factor in the selection of a successor .org
operator. We recommend that you give a detailed, specific response.]
|C15.||Describe in detail the abilities
of the applicant and the entities identified in item
C13 to operate a TLD registry of significant scale in a manner that
provides affordable services with a high degree of service responsiveness
and reliability. Your response should give specifics, including significant
past or present achievements and activities of the applicant and the entities
identified in item
C13 that demonstrate the described abilities. It should also include
information about key technical personnel (qualifications and experience),
size of technical workforce, and access to systems development tools.
NeuStar has the requisite and proven capabilities, technical experience, and professional integrity to seamlessly transition and responsibly administer the .org TLD, thus serving the .org community and enhancing the operation and usage of the domain at large.
The importance of a qualified vendor to successfully transition and administer the .org TLD cannot be overstated. It is clear that .org is much more than an Internet domain; it is, quite literally, a public trust. As such, its integrity must be preserved—and its reputation as a domain intended for use by the noncommercial community must be preserved and enhanced.
In releasing its RFP and all associated materials for the reassignment of .org, ICANN has shown its commitment to transition the .org registry to a registry operator who will provide a high level of service to noncommercial end users. To this end, it is imperative that ICANN select a responsible vendor with the technical and administrative qualifications enumerated in ICANN’s “Criteria for Assessing Materials”.
NeuStar fully comprehends the importance of each of the evaluation criteria used in the selection of a successor operator of the .org registry. The risks associated with the transition and administration of the .org registry are readily identifiable and can be mitigated only by a registry operator of demonstrated experience and capability. These requirements are addressed in three facets of NeuStar’s proposal:
From a technology perspective, the successor operator must possess peerless qualifications and demonstrate extensive experience to ensure a seamless, stable transition and ongoing stability in the management of the .org registry. The successor must have specific experience developing and managing systems to support all registry functions to provide the ICANN with the confidence that over two million .org domain names will be properly managed, and over 100 registrars properly served.
Beyond technical proficiency, the successor operator must also have integrity and a track record of conducting business in a fair and even-handed manner. A registry operator must have a clear focus on providing registry services in a neutral manner, otherwise, two equally damaging occurrences are possible: (1) effective competition at the registrar level would be in jeopardy because of preferential treatment, and/or (2) the name space will not be focused on its intended noncommercial user community, and could become a “me-too” generic TLD.
Thirdly, a successor operator must not merely commit to the adoption and adherence of policies, but should have experience creating and implementing policy, to show a full appreciation of the meaning and value of the policies by which the registry must abide. Without a commitment to strong policy, the registrar community is in jeopardy of receiving substandard treatment, and registrants face the risk of having their needs treated as secondary to those of the successor operator.
All of these objectives can be satisfied only by a neutral registry operator with the proven ability to administer complex, mission-critical resources while facilitating the advancement of the domain as a whole. That vendor is NeuStar.
Since 1994, NeuStar has successfully served the global Internet and telecommunications industries. Put simply, no other competitor can equal our proven experience in operating registries of significant scale in a manner that provides affordable services with a high degree of service responsiveness and reliability.
To fully comprehend NeuStar’s unique qualification to be the .org registry operator, it is necessary to understand our history.
NeuStar: past, present, and future
Since its inception in 1994, NeuStar has been selected time and again in open competitive procurements to provide essential services. For example, NeuStar was selected by the United States Department of Commerce to administer and enhance the existing hierarchical .us TLD in October 2001, and launched a fully operational, expanded domain less than six months later—bringing a robust, scalable, experienced and neutral Registry to the official United States Internet domain. Further, a division within NeuStar’s Internet Registry Services line of business, NeuLevel, Inc., was chosen by ICANN to roll out and administer the .biz TLD, the first global Internet architecture designed for business—a goal successfully reached in November 2001. NeuLevel, a joint venture between NeuStar, the majority owner, and Melbourne, IT. Ltd., is based in Melbourne, Australia. NeuLevel was selected because it could provide and support a technical infrastructure capable of delivering a highly stable, secure, and scalable “thick” registry platform with enhanced features and serve the industry stakeholders as well.
NeuStar’s expertise in Internet registry services is rooted in our long history of service in the telecommunications industry. We designed, built, and currently manage the Number Portability Administration Center / Service Management System (NPAC/SMS). The NPAC enables telephone numbers to be changed from a physical to a virtual address so they no longer are physically associated with a switch. This means they can be moved, or ported, from one telecommunication company to another. The NPAC performs over one million transactions each month. NeuStar is also the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) on behalf of the FCC. As NANPA, its duties include operating the public telephone numbering registry for North America. Integrity and accuracy are the underpinning of these services, which affect virtually every telephone call placed within the United States and 18 other countries, including Canada. The FCC selected NeuStar to serve as the National Number Pooling Administrator as well. Number Pooling is a telephone number conservation effort that maximizes number usage and reduces the need for new Number Planning Area (NPA) codes which are commonly referred to as area codes. NeuStar’s reputation for neutral provisioning, equitable treatment of industry players, communications expertise, and database development extended beyond North America, and it was selected through a competitive bidding process to serve as the manager of the European Telephony Numbering Space (ETNS) on behalf of the European Radiocommunications Office. ETNS established a single country code for all of Europe to enhance the availability of pan-European telecommunications services.
NeuStar’s involvement with communications has never been limited to telephony or the Internet. As part of its service, NeuStar recognizes the need for subject matter experts in all facets of communications who can assist industry players by providing information to them on an equitable basis. Since the company began, NeuStar employees have been active participants and often leaders in the development of cutting-edge technology in all areas of communications. In addition, they have worked to support competition to ensure options for consumers.
NeuStar also serves as a technological leader that anticipates the next logical steps in the evolution of communications. To that end, NeuStar has been focusing on and leading the development and introduction of a suite of global convergence directory services that will integrate telecommunications and IP technology. These services will include national and international ENUM administration, as well as next generation signaling standards that will bring intelligent network capabilities to Internet Protocol (IP) based networks. Collectively, NeuStar’s convergence directory services will facilitate the convergence and interoperability of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and IP-based networks by mapping telephone numbers to IP addresses. As co-chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force Working Group (IETF WG) that has finalized the ENUM standard, NeuStar is a recognized leader in the development of open technologies required for the introduction of next generation network services. NeuStar will continue its leadership role by working closely with the communications industry, regulators, and standards bodies to leverage the ENUM standard to efficiently connect networks and to enable a broad range of converged services.
NeuStar constantly strives to look to the future. It is an active industry participant, listens carefully to the issues industry players seek to resolve, and devises innovative solutions to these problems. While we are proud of this legacy, NeuStar believes its greatest contributions and achievements are yet to come.
Significant achievements and activities
In short, NeuStar has the proven capabilities to deliver technically superior, highly reliable and fully scalable solutions that satisfy ever-changing consumer and stakeholder demands worldwide. We are resolute in our claim that NeuStar is the ideal choice to administer the .org registry. The remainder of this subsection is devoted to NeuStar’s portfolio of services and our numerous high-profile accomplishments, including:
NeuStar’s portfolio of services can be seen in Exhibit C15-1.
The successful transition, launch, and administration of the .us TLD
Official administrator of the .us TLD—NeuStar was selected in a competitive procurement by the United States Department of Commerce to administer the .us TLD. In this capacity NeuStar has leveraged its next-generation registry infrastructure to transition the .us domain from the incumbent operator and improve and enhance the domain through direct second-level registrations and improvement of the locality space operations. In April 2002, NeuStar conducted the highly successful, first ever real-time “landrush” process during which NeuStar’s SRS system handled approximately five million transactions in its first twenty-four hours of operation. NeuStar also administers .us policy through its work with the Department of Commerce and the usTLD Policy Council. Highlights of our usTLD transition include:
The successful global introduction and launch of the .biz TLD
"Next-generation" registry for .biz—NeuStar, through its subsidiary, NeuLevel, operates the new top-level domain registry for .biz. NeuLevel was selected by ICANN among 40 respondents as the result of the worldwide, competitive procurement for new generic TLDs. .biz is the only top-level Internet domain created exclusively for business activity. Highlights of .biz include:
Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC)—NeuStar operates the routing registry for North America that allows customers to keep their existing phone numbers when changing local service providers. NeuStar's development and operation of the NPAC in Chicago, Illinois, provides a master registry of routing information that interfaces with local carriers. Virtually all calls in North America query a copy of NeuStar's database in real-time to be properly routed. Through this center, NeuStar coordinates the porting of local telephone numbers between carriers in North America, serving more than 250 service providers daily and porting more than one million numbers each month. Highlights include:
Number Pooling Administration—As proven by NeuStar, number pooling has the potential to extend the North American Numbering Plan's (NANP) life well into this century. NeuStar has been the Pooling Administrator for over two years for U.S. pooling trials in several states and number planning areas, and in June, 2001, was selected as the National Number Pooling Administer by the FCC. Number pooling, also known as thousands-block pooling, allows for the disbursement of numbers to service providers in 1,000-number parcels, rather than in 10,000-number blocks as was previously done. NeuStar worked with the telecommunications industry to develop the initial Pooling Administration guidelines and to seamlessly transition number pooling operations in multiple states.
North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA)—NeuStar operates the telephone numbering registry for the North American Numbering Plan as a public resource, serving customers throughout the United States, Bermuda, and the Caribbean Islands. It is the centralized source for assigning all Number Plan Area (NPA) codes and central office codes, and coordinating NPA code relief as the demand for numbers increases. NeuStar transitioned this responsibility from the original Regional Bell Operating Companies and the former Bellcore in a highly responsible manner, transparent to the public.
European Telephony Numbering Space (ETNS)—In March 2001 the European Radiocommunications Office (ERO)—a permanent office of the European Committee on Telecommunications Regulatory Affairs of CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations) and a center of expertise in the fields of licensing, numbering, and radiocommunications—selected NeuStar in a competitive bidding process to manage the establishment of the ETNS to establish a single country code for all of Europe and assist in enhancing the availability of pan-European telecommunications services.
Enabling competition in the telecommunications industry with
NeuStar's OSS database service, IdentiBaseSM, is the answer to the telecommunications industry's number registry challenges that resulted from deregulation, number portability, pooling, and/or local competition. IdentiBaseSM is a data mining tool that allows subscribers to obtain accurate, up-to-date information about ported and pooled telephone numbers, the local service provider for a given telephone number or range of numbers, and other data critical to a company's rating, billing, or repair functions.
Spearheading the convergence of Internet and telephony technologies with ENUM
Convergence directories—NeuStar is leading the development and introduction of a suite of Global Directory Services that include SIP and IM, as well as national and international ENUM administration, next generation signaling standards that will bring intelligent network capabilities to IP-based networks. Collectively, NeuStar's Global Directory Services will facilitate the convergence and interoperability of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and IP-based networks.
NTS—NeuStar has brought its significant telephone number portability expertise to bear in the new converged telecommunications industry. Because Internet Protocol (IP) based systems and the public switched telephone network utilize very different message routing mechanisms, IP-based telephone service providers are unable to utilize the real-time call routing systems used by traditional telephone companies to access updated number porting information to ensure that calls are properly routed. Number Translation Service (NTS) provides a real-time IP-compatible mechanism for real-time number portability queries by next-generation IP-based telephone service providers.
NeuStar’s continuing success in both the Internet and telecommunications industries is due largely to the fact that requisite skills and experience in each are entirely complimentary. The following table demonstrates the cross-industry application of NeuStar’s core competencies.
NeuStar’s cross-functional organization, combined with its strong corporate focus and oversight, will ensure the successful achievement of ICANN’s objectives for the stable transition and management of the .org domain.
NeuStar draws its strength from centralized, interlocking functional organizations that support market-specific business initiatives. Subject matter experts overseeing each team are charged with aggressively managing costs, providing essential knowledge, meeting the continual demands of their line of business (LOB) constituencies and taking responsibility for business development, systems design, development, implementation, marketing and sales, and service delivery. We continually assess needs and are flexible with respect to scaling our resources to meet or exceed our milestones. Currently, NeuStar is fully staffed to support all the functions of the .org registry.
Corporate support organization
Transition and ongoing operations team
NeuStar’s .org Operations Team, shown in Exhibits C15-2 and C15-3, are responsible for both the transition and the ongoing operation of .org, will feature experienced, highly qualified, proven individuals skilled in registry operation, systems development and administration, data center operation, mission-critical resource transition projects and customer service. These team members will be individually selected for their respective expertise and in-depth knowledge of technical, policy, and operational requirements. Collectively, their unique qualifications and experience, (presented in the following table) when dedicated to the transition and ongoing operations, will ensure success.
As we are committed to the consistent delivery of high quality service, many key team members participating in the transition phase will eventually move to full-time, ongoing .org TLD operations support.
In summary, NeuStar achieves its business goals through its people. We promote the philosophy among our employees that they are individually and collectively critical to the company’s success and that they are poised to share in its rewards. A sense of ownership is encouraged among employees—ownership of their own work as well as responsibility for the overall performance of the company. NeuStar consistently maximizes its business goals by hiring staff members who are highly productive and of high caliber, thus ensuring top-flight service.
Size of technical workforce
Further, as .org is truly a global domain, NeuStar will use best efforts to augment the multilingual capabilities of our technical workforce with speakers of other languages to more effectively service the international client base.
In staffing initial technical roles during the transition and ongoing administration of the .org space, NeuStar will draw upon the pooled strength of the following core group:
These staffing allocations can quickly be adjusted upward as demand for our services increases, and staff requirements will be met through a rigorous recruitment process. Specific factors that may affect staffing levels include:
Access to system development tools
NeuStar will use Rapid Application Development (RAD) methodology and Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools for registry software applications development. RAD methodology enables large applications systems to be developed and tested incrementally in planned releases consisting of alpha, beta, and full production versions. We have found that incremental development of software applications is a key success factor in fielding feature-rich software applications. Each incremental build provides a testable software product that can be demonstrated to users and stakeholders. Changes can be easily incorporated in the next build cycle, and each successive build provides increased functionality until the full production release is completed, tested, and accepted.
There are five phases in the RAD methodology:
Development tools and languages
We are extremely confident that we can transition the administration of the .org TLD with zero impact to current users, and that we can begin to streamline the services they currently receive.
Further, NeuStar is committed to working collaboratively with .org stakeholders to facilitate the development of the TLD in a manner that reflects the needs of the entire .org community. NeuStar’s registry infrastructure has been designed to ensure that all participants have equal access, that services are made available to all providers uniformly, and that our corporate focus will be on the stability of the .org universe in totality. This, in combination with our reputation for integrity, experience, neutrality, and industry expertise, makes NeuStar the ideal registry operator for the .org TLD.