EASTERN COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY LIMITED


A. General Description of the Application
  1. TLD String(s) Requested.
    .shop or .store .news or .info .firm, .ltd or .inc .game .tour
  2. Category.
    General Purpose. General.

    Eastern Communications Co., Ltd. ("Eastcom") requests several TLDís which focus on broad commercial applications. Although not as wide open as the .biz TLD, Eastcomís requested TLDís are generally unrestricted focusing on a large registrant base and broad end user group. Accordingly, Eastcom qualifies for the general purpose category and general group.
  3. Sponsor, Registry Operator and Subcontractor.
    a. Sponsor. Unsponsored Application.
    b. Registry Operator. Eastcom is organized under the laws of the People's Republic of China, is a public company and has been traded on the Shanghai Securities Exchange since 1996. Eastcom is a licensed Internet service provider and an ICANN accredited registrar. The Technology Development Center of Eastcom was established in 1994. The Center is currently one of four state-level industrial research and development centers in the Zhejiang Province. Over the past four years, Eastcom claims to have devoted efforts to the research and development of mobile communications, optic communications, IT and network communications products. Eastcom's major projects include: (1) Mobile Infrastructure (CDMA switch, ATM switch platform and CDMA base station), (2) Mobile Terminal (GSM handset, SIM card and pager), (3) Optical Communications (SDH transmission equipment and access network equipment), (4) Laser Typesetter and (5) Microelectronics Application (ASIC). Eastcom intends to utilize only ICANN accredited registrars in connection with registration of domain names in the new TLD.
    c. Subcontractor. None listed.
  4. Registry-Registrar Model.
    Eastcom intends to utilize only ICANN accredited registrars in connection with registration of domain names in the new TLD.

B. Technical Review
  1. Summary Description of Proposal.
    Eastcomís proposal is for five new TLDs selected from .shop, .store, .news, .info, .firm, .ltd, .inc, .game and .tour. Eastcom intends registration to be unrestricted with a three month initial registration period
  2. Support of the Business Plan by the Technical Plan.
    a. Total Capacity. Handling of capacity is based on using scalable industry solution, primarily IBM-based hardware and databases, organized in a standard clustered, layered fashion.
    b. Projected Growth Rate. The growth rate based on the business plan would be for several million names under management the first year, adding a million names per year after that. The technical plan supports that growth rate, although calculations were not provided.
    c. Startup Period. During the startup period the load would be restricted to 500 registrations per day per registrar. This would continue for three months. The technical plan seems to support that load, although the proposal did not specify how many registrars Eastcom expects to have during that startup period.
    d. Fault Tolerance. Fault tolerance of the system is based on duplication. Registry databases will be processed at two sites about 30 kilometers apart. There will be a third cold site at a greater distance. System level duplication solutions will be based on IBM server technology.
    e. Security. Security is based on off-the-shelf components. Registrar authentication will be through the use of certificates. Inter-site communications are encrypted using standard tools. The proposal includes considerable discussion of security issues and procedures.
  3. Summary of Relevant Experience.
    Eastcom currently acts as a registrar. Eastcom also designs and manufactures network communications equipment. The materials provided do not fully reveal the capabilities and experience necessary to carry out the activities of a registry for a large TLD. However, since Eastcom currently designs and manufactures network communications equipment it presumably has the resources to complete the project.
  4. Apparent Implementation Risks.
    Eastcomís proposal assumes a new registry protocol and revision of the DNS mechanism. The DNS revision would make this element CORBA compliant and would allow asynchronous updates to the zone files. A considerable software effort would be involved although Eastcom proposes to back this effort up with a very large staff.

    Eastcom has not provided a detailed evaluation of expected load and performance capabilities of its system. Additional performance analysis would be useful in making sure that the applicants system will provide adequate service through the initial startup period.
  5. Available of Human, Operational and Technical Resources to Cope with Unexpected Events.
    Eastcom has prior experience in designing network equipment. Eastcom also appears to have experience in dealing with security issues on a real time and proactive basis.
  6. Advancing the State of the Art.
    Initial applications will be limited to 500 per day per registrar. This limit (or comparable limits) will apply for the first three months.

    Eastcom will develop a new registry protocol and provide software to the registrars.
  7. Other Comments.
    Limiting registrations per day per registrar is a solution to startup surge that seems unusual.

C. Business Review
  1. Applicantís Representations.
    The predecessor of Eastcom was organized in 1958 as a telecommunications equipment supplier based in China. Currently, Eastcom offers mobile telephone equipment as well as software. It is an accredited registrar and has an Internet service provider license from the Chinese government. The company has 2,340 employees of which 73 percent of whom have bachelorís degrees or higher.

    The revenue model is subscription based with a price of US$6.00 and all Internet users are potential customers. Eastcom plans to invest $10 to $20 million in this new TLD.
  2. ICANNís Evaluation.
    The strength of this application lies in the diversity that this applicant could bring to the registry business and the financial strength of Eastcom. The weaknesses of this application include (1) little to no details in the marketing plan, (2) a lack of detailed rationale for estimated demand, and (3) a lack of detailed rationale for the resources to meet demand. Overall, there are other applications in this category that are stronger and more complete from a business perspective.

D. Summary of Public Comments
  1. Number of Comments.
    17
  2. Support for the Application.
    Having a registry based in China will acknowledge the international nature of the Internet. Support was expressed for .news as a potentially important new TLD.
  3. Opposition to Application.
    Some commentators expressed worries that the Chinese government might exert undue influence over the TLD and seek to censor websites.