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Abstract -- Financing Common Infrastructure Network and Application Engineering Track
N7: Network Information Centers

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Financing Common Infrastructure

Schachtner, Andreas ( afs@germany.eu.net)


The Internet has a long history of co-opetition, where parties share common infrastructure, whilst in competition in other areas of their business.

One example of this is network information centre (NIC) infrastructure.

Each service provider doing business in the Internet area has the need to get parts of the DNS name space delegated to himself or his customers.

In most countries, the name space below a TLD is managed more or less in a monopilistic fashion: There is one central authority delegating name space out of it. Even if the name space is partioned into COmmercial and ACademic community, the commercial providers need to share a common name space.

In the 1980s, most NICs are provides services free of charge or are sponsored by some governmental or research organisation. This changed over time. In Germany, in 1991, there was a need for funding NIC infrastructure, but no sponsor at hand.

At this time, DIGI a user organisation together with a subset of the Internet service providers developed models for providing the service and charge the Internet service providers in a fair fashion for these services.

This models weren't implemented due to lack of joint action of all service providers. Alternative approaches, as funding by user contributions were evaluated, but turned down.

In 1992, all of the service providers at that point in time met to set up a joint approach for financing NIC services.

The user organisation DIGI joined the service provider club (IV-DENIC) as an observer and was fully integrated in the consultations and information flow. The participation of the user organisation is seen crucial, as this monopolistic market segment has to be regulated in a fair fashion and without looking primarly at the commercial interests of one or all of the service providers.

A call for tender for NIC services was issued and decided in 1993. The NIC services are secured at least until end of 1996.

As the number of service providers and regional resellers in Germany was growing in 1994, the need for opening up the service provider club was seen and installed. In 1994, two more ISPs joined the club, counting a total of five at the end of 1995.

A further need for opening the DE-NIC (German network information centre) to serve a community outside the service provider club was identified in mid of 1994. A pricing model for those services, ranging from the need of single end users up to full blown service providers outside was developed in 1994 [Currently, the model is accepted by the IV-DENIC, but not in place as the terms and conditions has to be installed as well. Introduction of this model is expected in QII/1995]

The talk presents the history of the development of a finance and service model for NIC services in Germany, major hurdles to be taken to reach the present stage and an outlook to further challenges and developments.