A brief history of .ht
First, let's make a little history on .ht. The IANA
report on the redelegation of .ht did not mention the previous crisis
that existed when they first delegated the management of .ht to a the
consortium REHRED/ACN (an NGO/private company consortium), not supported
by the government at that time. Based on a correspondance from the Government
dated March 6, 1997, IANA
the .ht to
entity. However, the .ht has
never been put into operation.
is very important to mention, since this context will explain
the careful and long
a new redelegation to a mixed, public/civil society consortium, endorsed
by the Government.
In 1999, the Réseau de Développement
Durable d'Haïti (RDDH), representing the local community interested
in the development of ICTs in Haiti, took the leadership of resolving the .ht issue. Locally, RDDH had to deal with all
that had the management
of .ht, and the Government. Internationally, it had to deal with ICANN/IANA
which wanted to carefully treat that issue. Daniel Pimienta's
FUNREDES has a nice compilation
of events from 1997 to 1999.
The consortium FDS/RDDH has then been created to satisfy the requirement of
the Government that a public entity be involved in the management of .ht. Enters
FDS, the Department of Science of the public State University. Thus, tedious
meetings have been organized with representants of the Government, mainly people
from the Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communications,
to finalize, fine-tune the .ht management procedures, vision and architecture.
Why it took so long ?
- Local negotiations were tedious and carefully planned in order to restore
confidence among all actors, particularly the Government, ISPs and telecom
operators, and the old tender of the .ht which was an ISP itself. Since 1999,
several workshops have been organized to motivate people and demystify the
- ICANN procedures for approving a redelegation were also tedious. For example,
we had to find out how to give proof that the sponsoring organization had
- The fact that all documents and legal papers are only in English made things
worse when the Government had to review them. ICANN should consider rending those
papers in official languages of the countries
- The institutions that would be involved in .ht management had to improve their
technical infrastructure and/or establish outsourcing strategies that are acceptable
to the Government and the parties involved
- We had to establish strategic alliances with outside institutions for technical
assistance, experience sharing, notably
and secondary DNS services with AFNIC, the
of Montreal and Princeton University
- In brief, this participatory approach extended the delays, but with
benefits of restoring confidence
Has the local community been consulted ?
If there is something we did extensively, it is the consultation with the
local community, through national
summits, workshops, even the publication of proceedings outlining the vision,
approach and economic benefits of the management of our own domain name space.
article, michael seems to suggest that ICANN should have consulted the
Internet community at large before taking the decision to redelegate .ht. Although
I believe that closer communications between ICANN/IANA and the community that
they are supposed to serve should improve, but I think the principal parties
concerned in a redelegation is the sponsoring organization, the local community
and the Government of the concerned country. Once all these parties have an
agreement, ICANN/IANA (or whatever the body responsible) just has to agree.
Haiti 'kissing the ring' of ICANN/IANA ?
Small ccTLDs like .ht have very low weight in decisions about Internet Governance
for now. As a problematic NIC, the focus is on resolving the internal
blockage on .ht and on entering the complex structures around Internet Governance
ccNSO, GAC, etc.) in order to have an active presence in the debate for shaping
the future of Internet Governance. Some
have been contested with
ICANN/IANA however, notably about sharing zone files with them. In .ht organizational
structure, we had already arranged for a body that would serve as a guard for
the local community, vis-à-vis the consortium. This body, in spirit, could
play the role of the 'escrow agent' as suggested by ICANN/IANA. They have
been flexible enough about this requirement (the transfer of zone files
Small ccTLDs like Haiti should regroup so they can better defend their point
of view. That meens being always present in international debates, creating
interest groups with shared vision. If we don't do that, we will be left aside
and our cases will drop down on the priority list to make place for more controversies
between the giants. Now that we are close to the launch of .ht, we really focus
on how this thing could bolster the development of that sector in Haiti, and
thus help in the development effort of the country.