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CENTR Replies to ITU Study on ccTLD Governance

The Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR) announced today their response to Professor Michael Geist's draft survey report "Government and country-code top level Domains: A global survey", which was conducted on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in December 2003.

"In the last decade the general trend has been to de-regulate markets in the Communications Industry, which continues to stimulate economic growth and innovation, and it seems perverse that this ITU supported report is seeking to go against the proven successful trend," said Paul Kane, chairman of CENTR.

CENTR members feel that Geist's conclusions are misleading the general public in several ways:

The study does not comply with generally accepted methods of data analysis, and claims to be representative, although less than 25% of all world-wide country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) Registries replied to the survey. CENTR members feel it is important to point out the flaws in the methodology that result in questionable conclusions.

The report is also ignoring the unique nature of different global regions, which often have their own specific Internet governance issues. By using broad generalization, the report blurs the true picture of ccTLD governance even more.

Whilst Geist's conclusions are indicating the importance of government involvement, he ignores the crucial part the private sector has played historically and is playing today in the growth and stability of the Internet. CENTR has always advocated cooperation between private and public sectors, however, CENTR members believe increased government power on Internet doesn't necessarily aid the growth and stability of the Internet for the general public.

It is proven that national prosperity is inversely proportional to level of regulation. As a consequence the World Trade Organizations Free Trade Guidelines recognizes the importance of liberalized markets with Government intervention and public policy regulation only when a market segment has failed. "The Internet has not failed and continues to develop a pace" stated Paul Kane.

"Much of the investment in the Internet has come from the private sector. CENTR members are fully committed to cooperatively serving their local Internet communities, which comprises the government and public authorities as well as private sector and civil society. Where Governments feel they should have direct control of the Internet a potential route may be to have a new Internet space assigned directly to each requesting Government using by means of example the 3 letter ISO-3166 code or the three letter ITU Country identifier code," so Paul Kane concluding.

- CENTR's complete response available here [PDF].
(Will hopefully aid to a more balanced discussion on Internet Governance.)

- Professor Geist's report is available here [PDF].

By Tim Mertens, General Manager
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Re: CENTR Replies to ITU Study on ccTLD Governance Richard Hill  –  Jan 12, 2004 2:37 AM PST

Michael Geist's report is his own work, done for his own purposes. The ITU has not commissioned or sponsored Prof. Geist's report, and prof. Geist's report has not been presented to ITU's membership.  Thus it is not correct to state that Prof. Geist's report was supported by ITU.

The report that Mr Zhao sent to ITU's membership regarding the responses to the questionnaire can be found in Add 2 of Circular 160, at: http://www.itu.int/md/meetingdoc.asp?type=sitems&lang=e&parent=T01-TSB-CIR-0160

TSB has not drawn any conclusions or made any inferences from the data.  Nor has TSB attempted to analyse the data in any way.

The data analysed by Prof. Geist are now publicly available at http://www.itu.int/itudoc/itu-t/workshop/cctld/survey/index.html , and anybody is free to analyse them.

Sincerely,
Richard Hill
Counsellor, ITU-T Study Group 2

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