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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

NiRA inaugurates Auction Committee for .ng

The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), would Wednesday, December 3, inaugurate an Auction Committee for the sale of the nation's country code Top Level Domain name, .ng.

This is coming on the heels of the advanced plans for the full commercial operations NIRA.

According to NiRA President, Mr. Ndukwe Kalu the committee would be charged with the responsibility of fashioning out auction guidelines and procedures for the .ng domain.

‘This is both for special registrations on the first level like mybank.ng, and also premium domains on the second level, like doctors.com.ng, shop.com.ng, among others,‘ he said.

Ndukwe also revealed that the committee would be chaired by the Vice President, NiRA and Director, Licensing at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mrs. Mary Uduma.

She would be joined in the committee by NIRA Director and Managing Director, Resort Saving & Loans Plc, Mr. Bimbo Olayinka as deputy chairman the publisher, Technology Times, Mr. Shina Badru and another NIRA director and Head, Information Technology (IT), Aluko, Oyebode & Co. Ms Yetunde Johnson.

In addition, the committee includes three of the newly accredited registrars, Messrs Omoniyi Ewete, Eugene Ohu and Destiny Amana, while Registrar Laison officer of NIRA, Mr. Emmanuel Amadi would serve as secretary to the committee.

He explained that premium domains were one of the highlights of the policies released by NIRA earlier in the year.

This, he said, would enabled NIRA to provide for one of the lowest charges in the world of any country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) or Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD).

Kalu further said that the concept would enable every Nigerian to have a .ng domain at a very low price, while premium domains could be used to augment the financial demands.

‘Since the release of the policy NIRA has been inundated with enquiries on the modalities for the acquisition of the premium domains and registering on the first level from all over the world. There was therefore need to ensure that we have a world class and transparent process in place,’ Kalu said.

Stressing that the establishment of this committee marks a landmark in the fulfillment of the promise of the current board to provide a platform for all Nigerians to express themselves on the web.

Giving further reason on the importance of the committee, he noted that it has taken this long since the release of the guidelines, because the initial focus was on putting in place a first class technical infrastructure.

‘This has been done since October 1, and fully tested and ready for service,’ he said.

As said by Kalu, NiRA has to make sure it has a product to offer first before talking of auctions.

‘The work of the committee is expected to herald a new beginning in the utilization of .ng and is expected to submit its final report in early January with the first auctions expected either late January or first week of February,’ he said.

Meanwhile, NiRA, a holistic stakeholders body charged with the responsibility of increasing Internet penetration in Nigeria through the popularization of the country’s code Top Level Domain (TLD), dot ng, has said its target in the next 18 months is to grow Internet usage to 2 million.

NiRA, also said, it has identified three opportunities to boost internet penetration in Nigeria including the proliferation of data market within the core telecommunications industry, person cum brand protection and rising content need in the Nigerian market.

According to him, NiRA would capitalize on the federal government’s projects such as the State Accelerated Broadband Initiative (SABI) being propagated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).

“We see this as the next driver with massive infrastructure deployments to support the data,” he declared, adding that coupled with the massive government attention to broadband connectivity both in the rural and urban center through the NCC and USPF, this projection is viable and could even be surpassed.

Stressing that with all this, NiRA estimates that there will be over one million connected broadband users in 18 months time, “with total Internet users of about two million.”

This growth, Kalu noted would see to massive number of online users expected to have some presence on the Internet, which in turn would translate to domain registrations on .ng.

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