An interesting news item popped up on the ARRL website last week.
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) has expressed public support for a .radio top-level domain name. Under the proposal as put forth by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), registration will be available via the EBU to all eligible radio representative organizations and broadcasters, Internet radios, radio amateurs, radio professionals and their respective representative organizations, as well as companies providing radio-specific products and services in order to create a worldwide radio community.
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) welcomes dot-radio, the Internet Top Level domain that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) proposes to create for the global radio community.Created in Paris, France, the IARU has been the watchdog and spokesman for the world Amateur Radio community since 1925 and counts with over 160 members from many different countries and territories.
The IARU believes that the dot-radio proposal to be submitted by the EBU could provide an unique opportunity to standardize Radio domain names on the Internet.
The use of a specific global online name such as dot-radio can help create a unique space worldwide, a place where the global radio community can gather.
Am I the only one who thought to themselves, “what does this have to do with Amateur Radio?”
What does the European Broadcast Union, a group that represents the interests of broadcasters (especially on radio spectrum issues), have anything to do with ham radio? Anyone? I can hear the crickets chirping….
What does it mean to “standardize radio names on the Internet”? How about “a place where the global radio community can gather”? I mean, is anyone feeling like this sort of thing is missing on the Internet?
Has anyone had any trouble getting their callsign domain name in .com, .net, .org, or .co.uk? From an Amateur Radio perspective, this whole thing seems like a solution in search of a problem.
Others have also weighed in the potential conflict of interest in EBU’s application. Julien Mervyn Dedier filed this comment with ICANN:
Dot. Radio the Internet top Level domain that EBU proposes to create for the global radio community is not in the best interest of amateur radio operators worldwide. The International Amateur Radio Union’s (IARU) support for Dot. Radio by EBU does not reflect the views of all amateur radio operators globally.
Apparently he’s not alone in raising the conflict of interest concern. Kevin Murphy, editor of the domain name blog DomainIncite, wrote:
The European Broadcasting Union, which is one of four applicants for the .radio top-level domain, has asked to join ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee as an observer.
It is believed that its request is likely to be accepted.
The move, which comes just a couple of weeks after ICANN revealed its list of new gTLD applications, could raise conflict of interest questions.
While several GAC governments and observers are backing new gTLD bids – the UK supports .london, for example – they’re generally geographic in nature and generally not contested.
I’m not suggesting that there is some grand conspiracy here. There may be very valid reasons why IARU believes that this is fundamentally in our best interest. They just aren’t clear to me from the press release.
I e-mailed Mr. Ellam, the president of the IARU, a week ago for comment. I asked specifically for an example of how the approval of EBU’s .radio application would benefit the Amateur Radio community. I ‘m still awaiting a reply.