The Universal Postal Union has chosen Afilias, a global provider of internet infrastructure services, as the registry operator for .post, the organization's privileged space on the web for postal e-services.
The agreement brings the UPU's sponsored top-level domain (TLD) one step closer to implementation.
Under the terms of the agreement, Afilias will operate the technological infrastructure required to enable .post to go live this year.
A registry operator handles the technical aspects of ensuring a TLD runs in a manner that maintains the safety and security of the internet.
Among many behind the scenes activities, the registry maintains the master database of domain names and their matching internet protocol (IP) addresses for a particular TLD.
IP addresses are the numeric equivalent of domain names; they enable computers to direct traffic to the address indicated by the domain name.
Crucial partnerUPU Director General Edouard Dayan emphasized that choosing a strong technical partner was crucial to making .post live. "If we are able to adapt postal services to the new technical and commercial environment, we are creating value for our members and we will also be in line with the times in which we are living," Dayan said.
At the signing, Ram Mohan, Afilias' executive vice president and chief technology officer, said: "We are excited to be part of what is likely to be the next generation of the evolution of Posts... and about the innovation that is likely to be unleashed as a result of .post going live."
"We completely believe in the .post vision of preparing the postal services of the world for the future. We dedicate ourselves to help bring this to life," added Roland LaPlante, Afilias' senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
Afilias specializes in providing domain-name registry services and internet infrastructure services to TLDs across the globe. It started business in 2001 with the launch of the .info TLD, which it manages along with the .mobi and .pro TLDs.
Currently, Afilias provides services to 17 TLDs with more than 20 million domains, including almost eight million .info domains and one million .mobi domains. The company also supports the .org, .aero and .asia TLDs, among others.
Road aheadBefore .post can become operational, the .post registry must undergo a period of technical testing.
Once complete, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (better known as ICANN) will officially delegate the .post domain to the UPU.
After this, it will be possible for eligible entities to register and use .post domain names, subject to specific application procedures and conditions of use approved by the UPU.