The European Commission this week opened the bidding process for private, nonprofit organizations hoping to run the .eu top level domain (TLD), which is due to launch next year.
The Commission official handling the submissions, William Dee, said he is aware of one likely contender, the .EU Policy Oversight Committee, or EUPOC ( www.eupoc.org) based in Ireland.
“We (are) aware of talks going on involving an Irish participant, EUROPOC (now called EUPOC),” he said. A French consortium called Eureg ( www.ec-pop.org) is also expected to apply.
The .eu registry will be responsible for registering domain names with the .eu TLD. It will also settle conflicts where more than one person or organization claims rights to the same domain name.
Any fees it levies must be relative to costs, the European Commission stated in its official invitation for expressions of interest in the job.
Dee said that the selection process will be transparent, even though it doesn’t have to adhere to the strict rules the European Commission sets for public tenders. “This isn’t a call for tenders because we are not paying the winner any money, just handing them a concession to run the .eu registry,” he said.
Some people following the creation of the .eu TLD believe EUPOC is so far ahead in preparing its application that it will automatically win. “People have said the same thing about the French consortium,” Dee said. He added that his office has not been pressured by one or other governments to favour their candidate.
“It is my job to make sure the selection process is objective and fair,” Dee said. “If there was a legal challenge to our decision later that would be disastrous.”
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, already gave the European Union the go-ahead in principle to launch the new domain name last year.
A link to the European Commission call for expressions of interest can be found at: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/oj/2002/c_20820020903en.html. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 25, 2002.
The European Commission itself can be reached at +-32-2-299-11-11 or found on the Web at http://europa.eu.int/