Statement By Richard Zare On Domain Names

November 14, 1997

The Administration has stated that it supports the continued privatization and commercialization of the Internet and is committed to completing the transition to private sector governance. The National Science Board (NSB) agrees, and has issued a resolution that the NSF should no longer be involved in domain name registration.

The National Science Foundation originally got involved in Internet registration processes when the agency managed the major Internet backbone - the NSFNET - to support research and education, primarily in the nation's universities. The NSFNET backbone functions were quickly rendered redundant by commercial success and privatized. It is now time for NSF to focus on research and education, which will enable the Next Generation Internet.

The NSF cooperative agreement with Network Solutions, Incorporated - the current registrar for international (generic) top level domains - expires March 31, 1998.

If the Federal government does elect to remain involved in the policy and commercial issues surrounding domain name management, it is the Board's position that the Foundation should not solicit proposals for a new cooperative agreement. NSF's mission is to promote research and education in science and engineering, and it can no longer commit resources to manage today's Internet.


NSF is an independent federal agency responsible for fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of about $3.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states, through grants to more than 2,000 universities and institutions nationwide. NSF receives more than 50,000 requests for funding annually, including at least 30,000 new proposals.

**Receive NSF news releases and tipsheets electronically via NSFnews. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to; in the body of the message, type "subscribe nsfnews" and then type your name. Also see NSF news products at:,, and

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