A few weeks ago Nitin proposed in the Mauritius Internet Users mailing list that we have a round table discussion about the .mu ccTLD. He suggested we follow a different format for our meetup and that we stick to the rules. After several Skype calls we agreed on the format as follows:
(i) Opening the meeting (ii) Ice breaking - Quick intros of participants (iii) Education session on the .mu ccTLD (iv) All participants share their opinion on .mu ccTLD (v) Summing up (vi) Questions & Answers
The location and schedule of the meetup was communicated only to those who expressed interest in participating.
The meetup happened on Saturday 13th December 2014 at PR School of Management and Education. The following persons made it for the meetup: S. Moonesamy, Nitin Mutkawoa, Kurtish Venkatiah, Jagveer Loky, Benoit Gentil, Nayar Joolfoo, Shelly Bhujun, Rashill Gopee and me.
As set in the time table, Nitin opened the meeting, explained the rules and invited me to present the .mu ccTLD. I was given 12 mins for that.
I started by explaining how computers identify and talk to each other over a network. Then I broke down a domain name explaining the bits & parts. I highlighted the difference between gTLD (Global Top Level Domains) and ccTLD (Country-code Top Level Domains). I gave examples of ccTLDs like
.mu. I explained the difference between registries and registrars.
I talked about ICANN and described the functions of IANA. I talked about the five regional Internet registries responsible for the assignment of IP addresses:
African Network Information Centre (AfriNIC) for Africa
American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) for the United States, Canada, several parts of the Caribbean region, and Antarctica.
Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) for Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and neighboring countries
Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC) for Latin America and parts of the Caribbean region
Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) for Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Central Asia
I talked about Internet Direct Ltd and it's duties as the caretaker of the .mu ccTLD. I also mentioned the role of the various registrars that provide .mu domain name registration.
After this session we took a short break and then proceeded with each one sharing his/her opinion. We started with Nayar. He was interested to know if the .mu ccTLD management can be re-delegated? If yes, what is the procedure? He also wanted to know if any accredited registrar can register the
gov.mu domain. He gave his opinion on the price of .mu domain name registration and found that it was okay since this would discourage someone to just buy .mu domains for useless things. He considers .mu being two-letters appear premium. He also believed that .mu is not managed by a Mauritian company.
Then Jagveer shared his thoughts. He expressed interest in learning more about top-level domain names. He wanted to know why only companies can buy .mu domains and queried if individuals can buy too. He also wanted to know why we have to pay for .mu through a credit card only while the .mu domain itself is regarded as something local. Why are there no other mode of payment? He also wanted to know if .mu is secured and that while effecting an online banking transaction over mcb.mu whether the same is secured. He asked how can a user test and verify if a .mu domain is secured?
Shelly said she had kind of the same queries as Jagveer. Then she added she'd like to know more about the different levels in domain names (top-level, secondary level etc) that were mentioned during the education session. She also expressed interest in learning more about ICANN, IETF and the different protocols of the Internet.
Nitin asked why there are no .mu root servers in Mauritius? Why isn't .mu DNSSEC signed? He believes this is a backslash for Mauritius while we boast to be a Cyber Island. He also deplores that the current situation is detrimental to entrepreneurs. Nitin stated that he heard the .mu ccTLD was given for free to the current management, that is, Internet Direct Ltd.
Rashill mentioned since he arrived late he missed what was presented during the education session. Nevertheless, he could grasp that the .mu situation is serious. He also believes that the current situation isn't favorable for businesses.
Someone stated that someone he knows recently preferred buying a .com domain rather the .mu because of the hefty price tag. He deplored the pricing mechanism and believes there is a lack of transparency. He believes that lack of DNSSEC is leaving Mauritius with a bad image as Mauritius is usually considered the main ICT hub in the African region. He said in recent conversations with other engineers the DNSSEC issue was raised.
Benoit shared that he believes the management of .mu ccTLD should be redelegated. He is in a favor of an open organization where any Mauritian can become a member. Government bodies could also be part of it.
Kurtish mentioned that the .in ccTLD is managed by the Government of India. He asked why doesn't the Government of Mauritius go ahead with a similar framework? Kurtish gave additional details on how the DNS works, thus complementing the explanation in the education session. He mentioned that there are 300 DNS root servers around the world but none in Mauritius. He believes Mauritius has the expertise to manage .mu ccTLD.
We took another short break and then S. Moonesamy summed up the meeting. We had a questions & answers session during which we discussed the recent outages of gov.mu, the involvement of Orange to continue making gov.mu available through their network and the jurisdiction of .mu domain names.
Meetup ended at 13h00 on a happy note. It was raining heavily, while some of us set off for home, the rest settled for lunch at Shoprite Food Court.
On 3 November 2014, L'Express newspaper mentioned that the Government of Mauritius web portal was not accessible from outside Mauritius: Le site gov.mu pas accessible aux étrangers
On 9 November 2014, S Moonesamy wrote about the issues pertaining to gov.mu: gov.mu domain name issues in the news
On 16 November 2014, I commented on the choice for the Government to drop .mu and opt for a .org domain: Mauritius ICT Ministry needs a 101 course on DNS