Dear .la Registrants,
On 11 December 2002 ICANN announced its decision to re-delegate the ccTLD .la to the Lao Government, specifically the Lao National Internet Committee (LANIC). DotLA and Sterling were not aware that this change was being contemplated by ICANN or IANA, and we were not contacted by ICANN/IANA for our comments either before or after ICANN made its decision.
By way of background, Sterling signed a contract with the Lao government in 2000 for exclusive rights to operate and market the .la domain for 7 years, and Sterling's .la registry operations successfully began in December 2000.
In good faith, Sterling has invested over $3M, nearly $1M of it going directly to the Lao's for the license and a Lao Internet gateway and system, to develop, operate and market the .la registry and domain.
As you can imagine, we are greatly disappointed with ICANN's and LANIC's unilateral decision. When we became aware of this, we Immediately contacted ICANN and sent our comments to them in writing. As of today, ICANN has yet to respond to our letter, and the .la name servers were changed on December 20th, 2002.We are currently investigating our legal options.
From the beginning, Sterling has expressed its concern and desire that the current .la registrants be fully protected during this process. ICANN indicated that it believes that .la registrants should not be effected by this change, based on input it received from LANIC. As Sterling no longer has control of the .la registry and LANIC's plans have not been communicated to us, we have no way of knowing if that is the case. If you experience any difficulties with your .la service you should contact LANIC, who has taken responsibility for the .la registry, at www.la or email@example.com. You should also be aware that LANIC has diverted all Sterling .la email addresses to them, so if you wish to communicate with Sterling please do so using the sterling@i-DNS.net.
We apologise if this change creates any inconvenience to you.