At least three and up to six companies have submitted bids to operate the .FR (France) ccTLD and the ten French territory ccTLDs currently managed by AFNIC.
Bids were required to be submitted to the French Ministry of Industry by Friday for the 11 ccTLDs, and so far the current ccTLD manager AFNIC, along with l’Office d’enregistrement des extensions Internet françaises (“Office For The Registration Of French Internet Extensions” – a subsidiary of the Luxembourg-based OpenRegistry) and FRNIC have all publicly stated they have applied.
In the bid by the current registry operator, AFNIC have said they have significant industry support with more than 660 organisations and individuals expressing support for them to retain the operation of the registry.
Another of the applicants, FRNIC, a collaboration between FREE Foundation and the French registrar StartingDot, say they will invest all the profits of the organisation into developing the internet including the establishment of a foundation with €2.5 million over five years to be led by a scientific committee and to double the number of registered domain names between 2012 and 2017.
StartingDot has also applied to ICANN for five new gTLDs they describe as being “dedicated to businesses in many important sectors so that they may optimise their visibility and align their internet address with the name of their business.”
But the number of .FR domain names has been growing rapidly since registration rules were liberalised, leading to the ccTLD being one of the fastest growing in recent years, Matthieu Weill, AFNIC Director General, told Les Echos.
The 11 ccTLD registries for which tenders have been requested by the French Ministry of Industry are:
- .FR for France;
- .BL for Saint-Barthélemy;
- .GF for French Guiana;
- .GP for Guadeloupe;
- .MF for Saint-Martin;
- .MQ for Martinique;
- .PM for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon;
- .RE for Reunion Island
- .TF for the French Southern and Antarctic Territories;
- .WF for Wallis and Futuna;
- .YT for Mayotte.