In an expected move, the US Department of Commerce has issued a request for comments (RFC) to the public to offer suggestions for the expansion of the use of the .us country-specific top-level domain (07/08/98). Most other countries use their domains extensively, such as .uk and .jp, but the US – especially since the invention […]
In an expected move, the US Department of Commerce has issued a request for comments (RFC) to the public to offer suggestions for the expansion of the use of the .us country-specific top-level domain (07/08/98). Most other countries use their domains extensively, such as .uk and .jp, but the US – especially since the invention of the web – has seen an explosion in the use of generic TLDs (.com, .org and .net) rather than its own country-specific space, which has only been used extensively within US local government. The Commerce Department wants the .us domain to be used more by commercial entities, as its equivalents are in other countries. In part this is because the government believes it will help avoid conflicts between US and foreign companies wanting the same domain. The National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) – which is part of the Commerce Department – yesterday started a 30-day comment period about what to do with .us, which at present is administered by the people who run Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) at the University of Southern California, which is mainly Jon Postel. However, the .us domain does not fall under the IANA contract, it is contracted to the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at USC, which is staffed by IANA personnel. IANA hands out the other country TLDs to government-approved registries around the world, some of which are for-profit and some of which are non-profit. Although people are obviously free to comment on what they choose, the government in particular wants comments on the following: how the geographic structure should be extended or modified; should special-purpose second-level domains be created under .us, and who would administer them; and should it be treated as an unrestricted gTLD, like.com? There are 11 points in all in the RFC, which can be seen at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usrfc/dotusrfc.htm. The comments will be published as they are received, says the NTIA. It also says that it expects to issue further RFCs on this subject in the coming months and mentions the possibility of moving the current gTLDs reserved for government use (.gov and .mil) into a reformulated .us domain. The NTIA says it is aware of the US Postal Service’s proposals to take over the running of the .us domain, but says it will only be included in this process if it is re-submitted as a comment.