Please note that Nominet UK is not itself a party to this application, and indeed its tightly defined memorandum and articles would prevent it from running such a top level domain, or applying, or forming part of an application to do so. As such, Nominet UK does not, and cannot, as a company, offer formal endorsement of this application. However, the applicant feels that due to the extensive involvement of the promoters of this application with Nominet UK, and the experience they gained thereby, it would be useful to provide ICANN with background information on Nominet UK as a company.
Nominet UK is the registry for .uk Internet Domain Names. Just as Companies House holds authoritative records for UK company names Nominet UK maintains the database of .uk registered Internet names.
Every organisation or individual connected to the Internet is uniquely identified by a numerical address that is mapped onto a more memorable name. As a result, most countries have a central registry - such as Nominet UK - to store these unique Domain Names.
Within the British Isles there are also country code domain registries for Jersey, for Guernsey, Alderney and Sark and for the Isle of Man.
Nominet UK is not a governing or regulatory body, but provides a public service for the .uk namespace on behalf of the Internet community.
The Internet was originally established during the 1970's and was known as the Arpanet. By the 1980s a parallel system, the Joint Academic Network (JANET) was set-up in the UK and used by Universities, the Ministry of Defence and research organisations to communicate electronically with one another. By the early 1990s, the emerging Internet Service providers such as Demon, Pipex and BT became involved with the network and started to provide Domain Names to customers on a commercial basis. As the use of e-mail grew, the organisations involved with the network set up a voluntary Naming Committee to vet all applications for Domain Names.
With the advent of the World Wide Web in 1994, the commercial potential of the Internet was starting to be realised. It was not long before the Naming Committee was unable to cope with requests for new Domain Names and the impetus to set up a professional registry grew.
There was much consideration of what type of corporation the registry should be. The options to set-up a private company limited by guarantee or a charity were rejected, and Nominet UK was established in 1996 as a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee.
Nominet UK began registering Domain Names on 1 August 1996 and is now officially recognised by the UK Government as the manager of the .uk TLD.
Nominet UK is a not-for-profit Internet Domain Name registry. The Company acts as trustee for .uk Domain Names on behalf of the Internet community. Nominet UK is not a regulatory body - anyone can become a member and Domain Name registrations are made on a first-come, first-served basis.
Nominet UK seeks to be:
Nominet UK is a not-for-profit company, which means that it has no shareholders, pays no dividends and does not proactively sell Internet services. It charges for Domain Name registrations in order to cover its operational costs. Domain Name registration fees are periodically reviewed.
Nominet UK has over 2000 members who have voting rights and are entitled to input into the way the Company is run. The most active members are Internet Service Providers (ISPs), however anyone with an interest in the Internet may become a member by paying an initial joining fee and an annual subscription thereafter.
Nominet UK derives its authority from:
Nominet UK plays an important role in the worldwide development of the Domain Name System and policy, being regularly represented in international discussions by senior members of staff. Nominet UK is an active member of:
Nominet UKs activities & functions
Nominet UK maintains the Register Database which keeps centrally held information on all .uk registered Domain Names. Domain Name Registrations are processed on a first-come, first - served basis. The vast majority of Domain Name applications are made through Internet Service Providers (ISP) who need in turn to register the names with Nominet UK.
Nominet UK is the designated manager of the UK Top Level Domain (TLD). There are a number of Second Level Domains (SLDs) within .uk and Nominet UK manages the most popular of these:
There are other UK SLDs that are sub-managed by separate organisations.
Nominet UK does not:
Nominet UK has responsibility for the accuracy and maintenance of records on the UK Register Database. Nominet UK has four core functions:
Nominet UK compiles statistics on a monthly basis for the domain names held on the .uk register database. As of 31st May 2002, Nominet UK had the following number of domains on its register:
Nominet UK comprises a total of 140 members of staff, including seven members of a senior management team plus two executive directors. Nominet UK is governed by a Council of Management that includes two executive directors, and four non-executive directors who are elected on a bi-annual basis.
The Policy Advisory Board develops proposals for policies and rules for consideration by the Council of Management.
Day-to-day operations are carried out by four large departments - administration, registration, customer support and technical - each employing in the region of 30 members of staff.
In addition, there is a Directorate that comprises the corporate affairs, communications and human resources departments.
The company has a flat management structure, and prides itself on staff training and promotion from within.
The day-to-day running of Nominet UK is carried out by a staff of around 80 who are organised into four operational departments. Each department is responsible for carrying out specific, but closely inter-linked tasks, critical to the smooth management of the registry.
The Administration Department is responsible for Tag Holder and Membership administration, Domain Name invoicing, Credit Control, Payments and Renewals. This includes dispatch of monthly invoices and statements; receipt and allocation of inward payments including cheques, credit card and bank transfers; credit control; cancellations and credit note production; processing of applications from Registrants other than Tag Holders which require payment in advance; membership applications; tag applications; despatch of Tag Holder agreements and opening of new credit accounts; upkeep of Member/Tag Holder database; chasing Registrants whose Domain Names are due for renewal and whose revised contact details have not been notified to Nominet UK; checking with Registrants whose Domain Names, due for renewal, have been detagged by ISPs, that the names are not required. The department is also responsible for the management of Nominet UK's switchboard and reception, security and health and safety.
The Registration Department has a number of important functions, including: completion of the Domain Name registration process; provision formal confirmation to Registrants of their entitlement to hold a Domain Name; exercise of quality control in terms of the accuracy and completeness of all information concerning a Domain Name registration; arrangement of transfers of registrations; renewal registrations at the end of the two year registration period
The Customer Support Department deals with a wide variety of telephone and e-mail enquiries. These range from requests for information on how to register a Domain Name or modify an existing Domain Name, to specific technical support for Nominet UK members. The Department numbers 30 including a team of technical support staff to assist new Tag Holders with queries ranging from the registration of a PGP key through to using the Automaton, Nominet UK's automated Domain Name registration and modification system. The Nominet UK Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) is also operated by specialist members of the Department - including Nominet UK's in-house solicitor. Through the DRS, senior staff will attempt to help parties to a dispute reach a mutually acceptable mediated or commercial resolution to their dispute.
The Technical Department is responsible for the operation of Nominet UK's core information infrastructure. This includes: maintenance of the authoritative primary name server for the .co.uk, .me.uk, .org.uk, .net.uk, .plc.uk and .ltd.uk zones; liaison with operators of current authoritative secondary sites; and the Design, implementation and maintenance of the UK Register Database and related services. Their function includes the evaluation, procurement, installation and maintenance of all computer and network hardware and software as well as the implementation of monitoring software.
Board of Directors
A Council of Management (CoM), the equivalent of a Board of Directors in a shareholding company, is responsible for making strategic and policy decisions. The CoM comprises two full-time executive Directors and four non-executive Directors who are elected at the Company's Annual General Meeting. The CoM meets regularly to discuss strategic, policy and operational issues. The board consists of:
Dr Willie Black Executive Chairman
Willie Black has been closely involved with the Internet and the Domain Name System since its earliest days in the 1970s. As a member of the Department of Nuclear Physics at Oxford University, he helped to develop the early use of e-mail, via which academic and research establishments were starting to communicate with each other.
In the early 1990s, Dr Black ran the Joint Academic Network (JANET) in the UK, as programme director of the United Kingdom Education and Research Networking Association. He was a member of the voluntary Naming Committee that vetted domain names prior to the formation of Nominet UK.
Dr Black left UKERNA to set up Nominet UK in1996. His role as Executive Chairman focuses on strategy, high-level policy issues and relationships at an international and national level.
Lesley Cowley Managing Director
Lesley joined Nominet UK as Operations Director in April 1999. She has extensive management experience in both the public and private sectors, having worked in a range of management roles for more than 20 years. She is a member of the Institute of Directors, the Chartered Management Institute and the Institute of Credit Management.
Lesley was appointed Managing Director in March 2002. As a Nominet UK board member, she makes a major contribution to strategic planning and decision making. She is responsible for the running of the company and oversees the management team.
She is particularly involved in relations with Nominet UK's members, managing company performance and introducing improvements to the systems and processes.
Keith Mitchell Non-Executive Director
Keith Mitchell was first involved with what is now known as the Internet 17 years ago, as a postgraduate at University College London. Between 1986 and 1991, while working for Edinburgh-based Spider Systems, Keith was a representative on the board of the UK Internet Consortium.
In early 1992, he became one of the founders of the UK's first commercial Internet provider, PIPEX.
From May 1996 until September 2000, Keith served in the full-time role of Executive Chairman of (LINX), the London Internet Exchange. He is also a non-executive Director of Nominet UK, and has served as Chairman of the RIPE NCC Executive Board (1997-99).
In September 2000, Keith became a founder investor in XchangePoint, a pan-European commercial provider of Internet interconnect and peering services, of which he is Chief Technical Officer.
Robert Blokzijl Non-Executive Director
Rob is a founding member of and chairman of RIPE and was instrumental in the creation of RIPE NCC as the world's first regional Internet Registry. He is also a board member of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
Alex Bligh Non-Executive Director
Alex holds the post of Chief Technology Officer at XO Communications Europe. He founded an early UK business ISP, Xara Networks, which, having just completed its 5th serial acquisition, led to his current role. Alex is also a non-executive director of Redbus Interhouse PLC, an Internet colocation company quoted on the London Stock Exchange, as well as a long-standing member of the Board of Directors of the London Internet Exchange (LINX).
Alex Bligh has served on the Council of Management of Nominet UK since its creation - a process in which he was intimately involved. He also sits on the Policy Advisory Board, and has at various times sat on several subcommittees including chairing the PAB new SLDs subcommittee.
Stephen Dyer Non-Executive Director
Stephen Dyer is chairman an co-founder of CentralNic, a successor organisation to NomiNation, which Dyer founded five years earlier, in 1995. Steve is currently chairman of two other successful companies, Mailbox Internet Ltd and Mailbox partnership. He is a well-known Industry figure and participant at meetings of the Nominet UK Policy Advisory Board, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Reseaux IP Europeens amongst other industry groups. He is also a member of the Council of the ISPA the UK Internet Services Providers Association.