DUBAI TECHNOLOGY, ELECTRONIC COMMERCE AND MEDIA FREE ZONE AUTHORITY
A. General Description of the Application
- TLD String(s) Requested.
General Purpose, General.
The Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority (“DTEC-MFZA”) requests two TLDs with its application focusing primarily on the .go TLD. The .go TLD is an unrestricted TLD targeting a large registrant and end user base, focused primarily on commercial applications. Accordingly, DTEC-MFZA qualifies for the general purpose category, general group.
- Sponsor, Registry Operator and Subcontractor.
DTEC-MFZA was established in January 2000 pursuant to Law No. (1) of 2000 of Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce & Media Free Zone (signed into law by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai). The DTEC-MFZA's principal location is the Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The objectives of DTEC-MFZA are: (1) to develop strategies and policies geared towards promoting Dubai as a center for technology, e-commerce and media and (2) advise the Government of Dubai in connection with the development of appropriate laws and regulations relating, inter alia, to data protection, the protection of intellectual property rights, cyber-crime, the establishment of a university and research center relating to the Internet and regarding the relations between the other free zone's in Dubai. DTEC-MFZA's most significant initiative to date is the establishment of Dubai Internet City, a $700 million technology infrastructure project sponsored and underwritten by the Dubai Government.
b. Registry Operator.
In the event that ICANN provides a positive indication with respect to DTEC-MFZA's application, DTEC-MFZA intends to establish a new operating division known as the Dubai Internet Domains Registration Authority ("DIDRA"). The DIDRA will be primarily responsible for policy development and administration, as well as the day-to-day management and operation of the new TLDs. Network Solutions Inc./VeriSign Global Registry Services Division ("VeriSign") will deploy an onsite registry infrastructure and provide critical monitoring and management services. Primary responsibility for the proper and reliable provisioning of the registry services is intended to lie with DTEC-MFZA through DIDRA. It is intended that VeriSign will design and build at DTEC-MFZA's facilities a registry infrastructure to support the storage, generation, maintenance and distribution of a new generic TLD. Upon completion of the onsite registry, VeriSign will turn over day-to-day operations to DTEC-MFZA, but will provide ongoing remote monitoring and management of the systems and software and end-to-end system solution and full data redundancy.
VeriSign has been the provider of .com, .net and .org domain names since 1991 when Network Solutions Inc. ("NSI") began providing the service. In August of 1999 the Network Solutions Registry began operations as a separate business unit of NSI. In June 2000, VerSign acquired NSI and renamed the Registry division, VeriSign Global Registry Services. VeriSign provides back-end domain name addressing, resolution and distribution services for ICANN registrars. VeriSign is currently serving over 60 production ICANN accredited registrars and over 60 pre-production ICANN registrars.
- Registry-Registrar Model.
DTEC-MFZA will allow any ICANN accredited registrar to register .go domain names but would only allow, initially, registrations of .dubai doman names through the Dubai Internet Domains Registration Authority.
B. Technical Review
- Summary Description of Proposal.
The proposed TLDs are .go and .dubai. This is a sponsored and restricted TLD. Registration would be for SLDs.
- Support of the Business Plan by the Technical Plan.
a. Total Capacity.
Capacity data has not been provided. However, it may be expected that the load on the new TLD would not exceed that of the current .com for which the subcontractor, VeriSign Global Registry Solutions, has a production system. Load and capacity estimates will be required to determine if the initial system configuration is adequate.
b. Projected Growth Rate.
Growth is expected to parallel the growth of the .com TLD, for which VeriSign’s experience will be valuable.
c. Startup Period.
Since VeriSign is involved, there is a high probability the prepared system can meet demand. However, its application did not provide sufficient information.
d. Fault Tolerance.
Fault tolerance is based on replication at a single physical site. There is no geographic replication of the registry. The VeriSign registry proposal suggests that the applicant consider various physical site replication strategies. The proposed system will be monitored remotely by VeriSign.
Security is based on standard approaches based on physical security and password protection.
- Summary of Relevant Experience.
Registry operator would be VeriSign. Relevant experience is based on successful operation of the .com registry. Although applicant would have responsibility for operating the TLD, the technical support of VeriSign would be immediately available.
- Apparent Implementation Risks.
DTEC-MFZA’s staffing is weak with respect to experienced technical personnel, particularly with background in large scale, high reliability information systems. This will be mitigated to some extent by relying on VeriSign’s technical expertise. However, DFTEC-MFZA is still responsible for the operation of the system. It is unclear how Dubai proposes to recruit suitable staff.
- Available of Human, Operational and Technical Resources to Cope with Unexpected Events.
Coping with unusual situations depends upon the technical backup of VeriSign. This is outlined in a service agreement between DTEC-MFZA and VeriSign.
- Advancing the State of the Art.
Applicant proposes to offer non-Latin domain names at some point in the future.
- Other Comments.
C. Business Review
- Applicant’s Representations.
DTEC-MFZA was established in January 2000 pursuant to Law No. (1) of 2000 signed into law by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. Based upon this law, Dubai has begun to make significant investments in technology. This application is an example of compliance with the new law. A provisional allocation of US$35 million for the next three years for the technical infrastructure build-out has been established.
DTEC-MFZA will also be the registry operator but has entered into an agreement with VeriSign to deploy an onsite registry infrastructure and provide critical monitoring and management services. Upon completion of the onsite registry, VeriSign will turn over day-to-day operation to DTEC-MFZA. The primary responsibility for the proper and reliable provisioning of the registry services will continue to lie with DTEC-MFZA. DTEC-MFZA has approximately 100 employees.
The revenue model and market assessments were not complete. DTEC-MFZA’s responses to these types of questions were that a comprehensive business plan would be prepared following a positive indication from ICANN.
- ICANN’s Evaluation.
The strengths of this application lie in its ability to bring significant resources to bear should they be needed. The are several weaknesses in this application. This application does not assess the market size, potential demand, potential marketing strategies or potential resources needed. Further, this application does not contain pro forma financial statements or the requested confidence intervals. Overall, this application is not complete in terms of its business and operational plans and is weaker than other applications in this category.
D. Summary of Public Comments
- Number of Comments.
- Support for the Application.
“As a buinsess engaged in e-commerce activities, we like the idea of a body that will be careful in ensuring that the DNs registered are owned by persons with a right to use the DNs and that .go will be a sort of security ecosystem.”
- Opposition to Application.
One commentator wrote that there was “no real gain or perceived value to .dubai.”