Most Users to Pay Internet Registration

(HERNDON, VA) September 14, 1995 -- The sheer popularity of the Internet is forcing a shift from a taxpayer subsidy to user fees to pay for existing and improved domain name registrations and fund future Internet infrastructure improvements.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. this morning, a $50 annual fee has been imposed on all five top-level domains: commercial, educational, government, network and non-profit organization (.com, .edu, .gov, .net, . org) domain name registrations. Until now, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has subsidized these registrations, which total more than 110,000 domain names. A five-week backlog has developed in processing domain name registrations.

The NSF will continue to subsidize the fees for the education domain. NSF will also continue to pay, on an interim basis, the fees for government registrations until federal networking agencies determine how the government will pay for the fees in the future. Military registrant fees are supported by the Department of Defense.

The fee applies only to domain name holders, not to typical end-users who access the Internet through a commercial service like CompuServe, Prodigy or America Online. A domain name is the Internet's equivalent of a real estate address.

New commercial, network and not-for-profit registrants will pay a $100 fee to register a name for two years; thereafter, they will pay $50 annually. Existing registrants will owe the fee on the anniversary date of their original registration. Registrants will receive three electronic notices that their renewal is due on their anniversary date.

Fees can be paid by check or credit card through paper mail or facsimile. There also are provisions for dealing with late payments and lapsed registrations; details can be found in the written policy.

The fees are being collected by Network Solutions, Inc., of Herndon, Va., which has been funded by the NSF to be the Internet registrar since 1993.

"Until now, taxpayers have funded the Internet's domain registration process. This shift to user fees is consistent with and was anticipated in NSF's original concept of developing support for the Internet," said NSF program officer Don Mitchell.

The fees replace the current level of NSF funding, which now is about $5.5 million from federal taxes. Eventually, the registration process will generate revenue which will be used to improve the Internet infrastructure, including hardware, software, research and education. "

In the last two years, registrations have jumped ten-fold," said NSI spokesman Dave Graves. "It's estimated that by the end of this year, the figure will have topped 20,000 per month. This unbelieveable volume has put us five weeks behind and we had to impose the fee immediately to avoid an Oklahoma land rush of registrations trying to beat a deadline."

Information about the fees is on the Internet at URL (uniform resource locator): http//

Network Solutions Inc. (NSI) is a total quality network engineering, integration and management firm, supporting some of the largest data networks in the United States. Network Solutions has been the InterNIC Registration Services provider for the Internet since April 1993. An Internet pioneer, NSI is a 15-year-old company headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, with a nationwide workforce. The company's specialties are internetworking, interoperability, and life-cycle support solution for diverse, distributed computer networks. Since March 1995, NSI has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC).

SAIC provides high-technology services and products for government and private industry in the areas of systems integration, national security, health care, energy, environment and transportation. With annual revenues of nearly $2 billion, the employee-owned company has 20,000 employees in more than 350 locations worldwide.