Contracts

Neustar keeps .us domain deal

Internet Domains

As the pool of Internet domain names expands dramatically, the Department of Commerce will continue to use Neustar to administer the .us country code under a three-year contract announced March 4.

According to the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the agreement with Neustar -- the incumbent operator of the .us registry -- has options to renew the contract twice for one year. The company will operate the registry, which is the U.S. country-code top-level domain name, at no cost to the federal government, according to NTIA.

Neustar has administered .us since 2001, when Commerce officials first chose it to build and manage the new domain.

The contract announcement comes as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) -- the global organization that oversees critical generic Top Level Domain (gTLDs) names worldwide -- fosters a dramatic expansion of the domain naming pool.

That pool is growing from a relative handful of two dozen or so, like .gov, .net, .org, and .com, to hundreds, possibly even 1,000, new naming options in the coming months. The new domains will be distributed through registrars such as GoDaddy and others. Neustar manages the .us domain and oversees the growing network of registrars who will sell .us names.

The first wave of new gTLDs, with names like .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles, and .ventures, went live in early January. Others have been coming online in the last few weeks.

Neustar also manages .biz, and acts as the worldwide registry gateway for China's .cn and Taiwan's .tw Internet domains outside of the two countries. It also administers the North American Numbering Plan that manages all telephone area codes and numbers in the U.S. and Canada, as well as enabling call routing among competing telecommunications providers in those countries.

Neustar President and CEO Lisa Hook, said Neustar plans to launch a new multi-stakeholder council in 2014 that includes members representing localities, registrars, small businesses and non-profit organizations as well as entities involved with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and cybersecurity.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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