Network Solutions maintains the Internet Number Registry and manages the domain root server for the entire internet… From experience, we have learned the importance of maintaining up-to-date zone files and making them available for propagation throughout the world.
– NSI Proposal to NSF Solicitation, October 19, 1992.
From 1993 to 1999, Network Solutions was under contract with the National Science Foundation to be the sole provider of domain name registrations in the three public top-level domains, “.com”, “.net” and “.org”. The NSF paid NSI for all registrations until 1995, and then allowed them to charge users when the number of registrations began to skyrocket. On November 6th, 1998, NSI registered its three millionth domain name, lizzybee.com, for Bozart Toys, Inc. A year later it had registered more than six million domain names.
In 1998, at the request of the newly formed ICANN, which wanted to open the registration process to competition, NSI started developing software and a central database to support multiple registrars of domain names. The first test was conducted in April, 1999, when five new registrars were accredited by ICANN to register public domains for a two month test period. Several dozen registrars were accredited by the end of the year, although each still has to pay NSI a fee each year for maintenance of the central database.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration efforts to privatize the domain name management system are described here.
AT&T provides the technical computer services needed to manage the domain name files. They store the files, make them accessible through proper commands, and update them every day.
InterNIC. During the period from 1993 to 1999, Network Solutions administered the InterNIC. Historical documents related to the creation of the InterNIC can be found at the following addresses:
- Network Solutions, Inc. Proposal. Submitted May 18, 1992, revised October 19, 1992.
- NSF Cooperative Agreement. January 1, 1993.
- InterNIC Midterm Evaluation. December 1994.
- The New Commercial Internet. December 16, 1997.