Public consultation on the liberalisation of .ie domain registration and naming policy begins today and will run until 30 September, the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the company responsible for managing and maintaining Ireland’s country domain name, .ie, announced today.

Currently, to register a .ie domain name, an individual or business must prove that they have a valid claim to the desired name and a real, tangible connection to the island of Ireland.

IEDR’s proposal is to retain the requirement for registrants to prove their connection to Ireland, but drop the need to prove a valid claim to the name. If the policy change is approved, any individual or business with a provable connection to Ireland will be able to register a .ie domain name on a first-come, first-served basis.

By removing this administrative requirement, IEDR says registering a .ie address will be easier and faster, and will further open up the .ie domain namespace to citizens, clubs, communities and businesses.

Commenting on the announcement of the public consultation process, David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR, said: “By dropping the ‘claim to a name’ requirement but retaining the connection to Ireland, we are removing a hurdle that slows down some registrants from getting started with a .ie address. Our liberalisation proposal will make registering a .ie domain more straightforward for both individuals and businesses.

“One of .ie’s greatest values is that it is ‘identifiably Irish’. A business with a .ie address is immediately authentic, trustworthy and familiar. For that reason, the requirement to prove a connection to the island of Ireland will not be going away.

“The policy change has already been approved-in-principle by IEDR’s Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) and other key .ie domain stakeholders, and by the IEDR Board of Directors. Subject to final consensus following this public consultation, it is envisaged that the policy change will come into force in early 2018.

“We are pleased to be opening up this liberalisation process to the public and look forward to receiving submissions by the end of September. The policy development process for the .ie namespace benefits from this transparent, multi-stakeholder approach to building consensus for policy changes.”

According to the latest dot ie Domain Profile Report, which analyses the make-up and geographical spread of .ie domain registrations, there were 230,611 .ie domains in the database as of 30 June 2017. In the first half-year period of 2017, there were 20,255 new .ie registrations, up 11 percent on the same period last year.

Further information and an FAQ on the proposed policy change is set out at http://www.iedr.ie/liberalisation. Members of the public interested in submitting their opinions on the proposed policy change should visit http://www.iedr.ie/public-consultation by 30 September.

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