In 3 Weeks auDA Goes From Boasting of 2LDs Readiness To Not Ready. What Gives?

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It was only 3 weeks ago that auDA’s CEO Cameron Boardman “resigned” and in a glowing announcement on his ‘achieving many goals’, the Board crowed that one of these was “the development and implementation of new Licensing Rules for .au second-level domain names, and the introduction of direct registration of .au”. Now the Board has given an update on second level registrations saying they aren’t ready for deployment. So what’s changed in 3 weeks?

The Board’s statement Wednesday through Chair Suzanne Ewart said the policy and regulatory for Australia’s country code top-level domain (ccTLD) wasn’t ready to release second level domains that were due to begin their appearance in the wild in the fourth quarter of this year.

In their statement, the auDA Board said:

“While we had previously estimated direct registration and changes to the licensing rules would be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2019, it is critically important that the changes are widely understood, backed by an education program and supported by robust business processes throughout industry. It is also essential that these changes are implemented in a way that minimises imposts on business and avoids unintended consequences.

“For these reasons, the auDA Board has this week decided to conduct an additional three-month long public consultation aimed at promoting awareness among new audiences, sharing more widely our plans to simplify the licence rules, and thoroughly understand and avoid any potential implementation issues. During this three-month period we will also take the opportunity to partner with industry to further test software changes, improve complaint processes and work with registrars to efficiently check the eligibility of applicants.

“The outcome of this public consultation, together with a summary of technical and process improvements, will be considered by the auDA Board in late 2019 or early 2020, after new governance arrangements have been implemented and the reconstituted auDA Board is in place. This means that the launch of direct registration and changes to licensing rules are now likely to occur in the first half of 2020.

“While the introduction of direct registration at the second level of .au and changes to licensing rules will be delayed, we remain committed to their delivery and look forward to providing you with further updates as we progress towards implementation.”

So what’s changed? Were policies ready? Was there enough consultation? Was the registry ready? There are even rumours that even though it was known second level domains were to be introduced during the period of this registry contract, it wasn’t part of the contract for the new registry operator. So is the registry negotiating changes to their contract? One can only speculate that the work hadn’t been done in preparing for the introduction of second level domains, and at least this goal the Board wrote of in Boardman’s glowing departure announcement hadn’t been achieved.