The Swiss Federal Office of Communications (BAKOM/OFCOM) has put out the management of the .ch registry to tender. The current contract with the SWITCH Foundation expires in mid-2017.
The SWITCH Foundation has expressed its desire to retain its role. In a statement, SWITCH note how they have “made .ch one of the most secure top-level domains in the world and is confident that it will remain the best choice for Switzerland going forward.”
SWITCH believe they are most suited to continue in the role. “Ever since it first created the registry, [SWITCH] has worked hard to ensure the secure, stable and uninterrupted operation of .ch. No other organisation in Switzerland has similar experience or a comparable record of success. It is no accident that .ch domains are among the most secure in the world.”
“SWITCH is the first registry in the world to adopt an active stance against cybercrime – in particular the use of .ch domains to spread malicious software and the theft of personal access details for online services. Over many years of fighting cybercrime, SWITCH has built a network of contacts with authorities and Internet service providers and established and optimised processes based on mutual trust.”
In mid-April, BAKOM will launch the public invitation to tender for the roll of .ch registry manager. The company which wins the contract will assume the registry function as of northern summer 2017. On this basis it will have to manage the national database of .ch domain names and ensure the electronic connection with the global domain name system (DNS). It will also be responsible for the assignment and revocation of the right to use an internet address. Since 2003, this task has been entrusted to the SWITCH Foundation.
In order to apply for the registry function, candidate companies will have to be able to prove that they are capable of providing the services defined in the Ordinance on Internet Domains (OID). In particular they will have to demonstrate that they have the skills and personnel essential for the satisfactory operation of the technical infrastructure, i.e. the DNS.
With approximately two million registered domain names, .ch is regarded as a critical resource for Switzerland. The requirements in relation to guaranteeing stability and security are consequently very stringent. For example, the registry is required to put in place measures to combat cybercriminality and to ensure the system’s security and accessibility. In order to guarantee integrity and data protection in accordance with the national legislation, the public invitation to tender is open only to companies based in Switzerland which themselves (along with their parent companies) have no dependent relationship with a foreign legal system requiring excessive disclosure of data.
Interested companies will be able to submit their candidature until mid-July 2016. In the autumn, OFCOM will designate the company which will perform the registry function from mid-2017 onwards.