GROUP ONE REGISTRY, INC.
A. General Description of the Application
- TLD String(s) Requested.
New Services, Telephony-related.
Group One, Registry, Inc. (“Group One”) requests the .one TLD to uniquely identify Internet connected devices, people and perhaps telephony devices. Although not purporting to target the registration of telephone numbers, Group One’s use of number strings and potential for application to telephony services is a type of use of service generally not available on the DNS. Accordingly, Group One qualifies for the new services category, telephony-related group.
- Sponsor, Registry Operator and Subcontractor.
Group One is a for-profit corporation organized on September 29, 2000 under the laws of the state of Delaware. Its initial shareholders are WebVision, Inc. ("WebVision") and Paul M. Kane. Group One was formed for the express purpose of sponsoring a new TLD. The company's mission is to expand the functionality and range of services provided to Internet users through the DNS. Group One's proposed TLD and its implementation plan are designed to give a unique, numeric domain name to every Internet-enabled device in the world, enabling them to act as a server and be contacted directly by any other device on the Internet. Group One will have a Board of Directors of between two and nine officers with a standard complement of officers. Moreover, Group One will have a Registry Policy Board to ensure that its operations succeed in their goals of producing the widest possible benefit for the Internet community.
b. Registry Operator.
WebVision was formed in November of 1985 as a Delaware corporation. WebVision is the successor company to NovaQuest Infosystems, Inc ("NovaQuest"), a network value added reseller, founded in 1984. On December 1, 1998, NovaQuest sold its Novell, Microsoft and other desktop support business unit to Sarcom Inc. and concentrated on the advanced IP, e-Business and other Internet infrastructure support-related business it started in 1996 through its subsidiary, WebVision. WebVision currently offers corporations facilities for hosting and co-locating their mission-critical systems, servers, databases and Internet connectivity in one of WebVision's data centers.
- Registry-Registrar Model.
Group One intends to issue domain names only through ICANN accredited registrars and to utilize the ICANN accreditation process to designate eligible registrars.
B. Technical Review
- Summary Description of Proposal.
The sponsor proposes a registry where, at least initially, domain names consist of just numbers. SLDs corresponding to valid telco country codes would be reserved, with registrations allowed at third level domains within those reserved SLDs. No other restrictions are envisioned. The intended purpose of the TLD is to allow for Internet-capable devices to have names that do not come from the human-oriented TLD namespaces. The Sponsor projects 951,000 registrations in 2001, growing to 10 million in 2004.
- Support of the Business Plan by the Technical Plan.
a. Total Capacity.
The plan does not describe the number, type or organization of the computer equipment to be used. Apparently a partner, Internet Computer Bureau, will provide some equipment. The registry software will be provided by ICB as well. ICB currently uses that software to host Ascension Island, St. Helena Island and the British Indian Ocean Territories. No model is provided to predict capacity requirements to host the registry, although presumably usage data on current registry operations bears no relationship to the patterns to be expected for .one.
b. Projected Growth Rate.
The technical plan provides little guidance on the ability of the registry operator to handle the expected rapid growth rate. Mention is made of the ease of upgrading the database server.
c. Startup Period.
The sponsor expects the startup period to be slow.
d. Fault Tolerance.
The registry operator is relying on his experience developing other high availability applications to achieve high availability for the registry. The hosting facilities appear to be well designed for high availability.
Standard security techniques are applied.
- Summary of Relevant Experience.
The Registry Operator has extensive experience with providing Internet services to others and consequently has billing systems, help desk and experienced operations personnel. The software vendor currently provides registry services for three very small country TLDs.
- Apparent Implementation Risks.
It is unclear whether a registry package developed for Ascension Island can scale to handle millions of Internet capable devices. No evidence was provided on the point.
The Proposal does not identify specific intended uses for the domain names. Insofar as new and novel uses are found for such domain names, unpredictable usage patterns will develop. It is not clear that either the sponsor or the registry operator have the resources to cope with a huge surprise. It would seem appropriate to invest heavily in monitoring systems to help develop capacity forecasting models.
The general notion is that these domain names will be proxies for devices, the characteristics of which were not conceived at the time of the original definition of the DNS. Given the wide variety of devices envisioned, the decision to rely on a fat registry model is a bit surprising.
Given the likelihood that most of these domain names will be sold in bulk to device manufacturers, it seems inappropriate to use ICANN-accredited registrars and the proposed Enhanced Registry-Registrar Protocol. Inventing new protocols is hard work, and no evidence was presented that either the Sponsor or the registry operator have staff appropriate to the task.
- Available of Human, Operational and Technical Resources to Cope with Unexpected Events.
The registry operator appears to have plenty of operational resources available for surprises. No evidence was presented regarding the ability of the registry operator to develop leading edge technology for uncharted registry waters.
- Advancing the State of the Art.
The technical plan as written appears to be a standard Internet based application. If the .one TLD is successful, it is likely that new technology will have been developed along the way.
- Other Comments.
C. Business Review
- Applicant’s Representations.
Group One is a newly formed organization created to be the sponsor of the .one TLD. It has firm investor commitments for $12 million. It will receive revenue from registration fees. The policy board will include three members appointed by ICANN, three members appointed by the company’s Board of Directors, and five outside members appointed by the Registry Policy Board itself to represent the interest of Internet users. This application’s goal is to provide a unique numeric domain name to every Internet enabled device in the world including but not limited to mobile phones and personal digital assistants.
WebVision offers corporations facilities for hosting and co-locating their mission-critical systems, servers, databases, and Internet connectivity in state-of-the-art data centers. Its mission is to be the premier provider of complete Internet infrastructures and support services for Application Service Providers as well as businesses transforming themselves for the new Internet economy. WebVision currently has 207 employees. The company had year-end revenue and net assets of $5 million and $824,000, respectively, as of September 30, 1999. As of September 30, 2000, net assets were $37 million.
The revenue model is based on a $6 annual registration fee for Group One Registry, with $0.50 going to WebVision. The target market will include mobile phones, smart handheld devices, Net TVs, screenphones, Internet gaming devices, web terminals, and other appliances. The application estimates over 690 million of the above target devices will be shipped in 2001, rising to over 1 billion in 2004.
- ICANN’s Evaluation.
The strengths of this application lie in the large potential market for domain names for all types of information appliances and a generally thorough assessment of the application’s questions. The major weaknesses include (1) the potential timing for broad-based market acceptance and (2) the applicants have limited registry/registrar experience. Overall, from a business plan perspective this is a stronger application for this category.
D. Summary of Public Comments
- Number of Comments.
- Support for the Application.
“I think this is a very well thought out proposal specially once we have started talking about convergence of technology, since the last few years. The concept that "any device" would be able to talk to "another device" is not only exciting, but has immense opportunities for the commercial world.”
“Authorizing .one will make the Internet more useful than it already is. Having been in the manufacturing industries for over 23 years, I can see this as a way to improve maintenance and monitoring on any machine ranging from machine tools that produce items like refrigerators, auto parts, airplanes, etc. to incorporation into the final product themselves. An example is tracking and communicating inflight real-time data from black box transponders of airline flight recorder data which would improve public safety in our transportation sector. Possibilities are limitless. We the public need this.”
“Group One Registry’s application is by far superior. Many organizations have a good Internet idea but don’t have the resources or management talent to be successful. I believe that Group One Registry’s application demonstrates that this organization not only has the right concept but also has the management talent and financial resources needed to succeed. The global community is smaller today than ever before and firm’s like mine consistently operate in the global environment. Group One Registry’s application proves they have both global reach and global support.”
- Opposition to Application.
“The idea of incumbent telcos registering domain names relating to telephone numbers is frankly not a very useful idea.”
- Substantive Comments and/or Questions.
“What would be the correlation between my cell phone number and my .one address?”
“Would I be able to get the .one address for my cell phone?”