At its board meeting held on Friday 14th March, 2019, in Kobe, Japan, it was announced that the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will transfer the .vu top level domain name from Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) to the Telecommunications Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator (TRBR).
TVL decided their preference is to be a Registrar in the future, primarily so they may retain a direct relationship with their domain name customers.
TVL has been responsible for management of the .vu domain name for Vanuatu since its initial delegation on 10 April 1995. Under the "Vanuatu Domain Name Management and Administration Regulation Order No 206 of 2016” TRBR is required to manage.vu, and to attend to the process of splitting the Registry and Registrar functions of this domain name.
Under a Shared Registry System (SRS), a single Registry Operator for .vu will be appointed, and TVL and other Registrars who are approved by TRBR will be able to interact directly into the registry for their respective customers domains. This introduces competition at a local and global level for the domain names available within the Registry.
TRBR are also proceeding with negotiations with a preferred Registry Provider, after having gone through an open and competitive tender process. Nine tender responses were received from both within Vanuatu and from international providers, and after separate technical and financial evaluation panels completed their assessment of these bids, a preferred registry operator has been selected. TRBR are currently negotiating a contract with this operator, and an announcement will be made later this month if negotiations can be successfully settled.
These changes set the scope for a competitive market for .vu domain names. TRBR has created an environment where multiple Registrars can make their own unique offerings and pricing for .vu names. TRBR wants to encourage the establishment of local Registrars in Vanuatu, and believes the environment will encourage the other local Internet Service Providers and possibly web designers will consider becoming Registrars or Resellers of .vu names. A strong collaboration between TRBR and the new Registry Operator is expected to lead to growth of the number of .vu names through international Registrars and resellers across the Internet.
The Government of Vanuatu has set the stage for these changes to occur and TRBR acknowledges the hard work done to create this platform. TRBR has followed up the Regulation over the past two years and developed policies for .vu through consensus based development processes within the local Internet community. TRBR is grateful for the input from the industry stakeholders, various Government Departments, and the local Internet community, in coming together for multi-stakeholder dialogue and decisions, which culminate with this positive decision from ICANN.
TRBR wishes to thank Keith Davidson, from New Zealand for his guidance in achieving the important milestone on the transfer of the .vu domain name, and also in the process used in selecting the new Registry Operator. TRBR also extends its gratitude to InternetNZ, which operates the .nz Registry, and their .nz self-Regulator, the Domain Name Commissioner, for their high level of support to TRBR over many years.
ICANN is the global body that manages the Internet’s unique identifiers, including the Top Level Domains for countries and the generic names like .org or .com. ICANN will update the IANA database at the core of the Internet to reflect this transfer in the near future.