1 May 2001

Minter Ellison
Level 19, Aurora Place
88 Phillip Street, Sydney 


Present: Philip Argy, Alan Chalmers, Mark Davidson, Steve Fielding, Odette Gourley, Rowan Groves, Tony Hill, Keith Inman, Jo Lim, Geoff Morrison, Christine Page-Hanify, Daniel Rechtman, Josh Rowe, Galen Townson, Derek Whitehead

Teleconference: Ron Ipsen, Ian Johnston, Cheryl Langdon-Orr, Cliff Reardon, Cathy Thawley

Apologies: Evan Arthur, Kitty Davis

Actions:

  1. DW and JL to draft minutes from meeting.
  2. DW and JL to revise new 2LDs discussion paper, and circulate it to the Panel via the closed list.

Decisions:

New 2LDs
1. The Chair and secretariat will revise the discussion paper, and circulate to the Panel via the closed list.

2. The public discussion paper will be released by 11 May, for a public consultation period of 4-5 weeks.

Next meeting 
3. The next Panel meeting will be held in June in Melbourne. Possible dates will be canvassed via the Panel closed list.

Discussion:

The Panel thanked Odette Gourley for hosting the meeting.

The Chair advised that three Panel members had decided not to remain for the extended terms of reference – Sandra Davey, Leanne Schultz and Ross Wilson.

1 Confirmation of 27 March minutes
Panel members confirmed the minutes from the meeting on 27 March 2001, previously circulated via the closed list.

2 Final report to auDA Board – update
The Chair advised that the Panel’s final report was presented to the auDA Board on 9 April and publicly released by auDA on 12 April. The auDA Board will meet on 8 May to consider the report. According the Advisory Panel Procedures, if the Board decides not to accept all or part of the report, it must advise the Panel within 14 days, and request a supplementary report that addresses the Board’s concerns.

3 New 2LDs – public discussion paper
The Panel noted that its work to date has led it to believe that the creation of new 2LDs in the .au domain space would meet a number of needs that are not met by the existing 2LDs. For example, while there seems to be a clear demand for a 2LD for individuals, the existing id.au 2LD is not popular. The Panel noted that user needs might be met by making some changes to the existing 2LDs, instead of introducing new 2LDs.

The Panel agreed that the purpose of the public discussion paper is to pose some open questions to elicit public comment about the ways (if any) that the current DNS should be changed to meet user needs. The Panel would then present its findings to the auDA Board, and recommend a process by which auDA could decide to make changes to the DNS. It was noted that people may propose new 2LDs in response to the Panel’s discussion paper; however, it should be made clear that no new 2LDs will be selected as a result of this process.

The Panel stressed the need for auDA to undertake more detailed public consultation or market research about the .au domain space. It was suggested perhaps the Australian Bureau of Statistics or a commercial market research firm might be willing to assist.

The Panel also noted that its recommended changes to domain name eligibility and allocation policy are intended to improve the usability of the current DNS. It may be premature to make changes to the DNS before the new policy is implemented, although it has always been understood that introduction of new 2LDs may assist in improving the utility of the DNS.

ICANN new gTLDs
The Panel noted that the process followed by ICANN to select the 7 new gTLDs tied the choice of new domains to a particular registry operator and business model. This process, and the US$50,000 application fee, had the effect of excluding non-commercial or altruistic proposals that may have better met community needs.

The Panel noted that simply adopting the new gTLD structure would not differentiate the .au domain space. It was also noted that a direct correlation between .au and the gTLD domains is not possible anyway, due to the difference in domain name eligibility and allocation policies.

It was suggested the discussion paper should include a more detailed description of the new gTLDs.

Process
Panel members favoured a process whereby auDA would issue an open call for proposals for new 2LDs. Proponents would be required to explain the reasons why the new 2LD is necessary. They should also be required to declare any possible interests in the new 2LD.

Panel members noted that the process would need to be adequately resourced by auDA. It was suggested that an application fee might help to recover costs and could also improve the quality of proposals; however, the fee should not be set so high as to constitute a barrier to entry to non-commercial groups. A further suggestion was that the entire cost could be recovered from the registrars as part of the fee paid to auDA for their authority to operate.

It was suggested that auDA could use different evaluation criteria depending on whether the proposed new 2LD is for commercial, community or individual purposes. The Panel considered that the evaluation criteria should be included in the discussion paper for transparency, to assist submitters and to simplify the assessment of the submissions.

Panel members suggested that there is a need for an ongoing process that allows people to propose new 2LDs at any time, such as the New Zealand process.

4 Public consultation process and timing
The aim is to release the new 2LDs discussion paper by Friday 11 May, for a public consultation period of 4-5 weeks. The release of the paper will coincide with the release of the Competition Panel’s second public consultation report, and the Dispute Resolution Working Group’s auDRP proposal.