African domain-name registrars have mixed reaction to ICANN push

While the imitative is badly needed, increasing the number of registrars isn't a cure-all, one says

By Loek Essers, IDG News Service |  Internet

In December 2012, there were about 246 million domain name registrations across all TLDs worldwide, according to Versign's domain name industry brief. At the same time, there were 104.9 million ccTLD domain names, Verisign reported. But Africa has only a small number of those, Aboulfeth said.

There are about 983,000 ccTLDs in Africa, including South Africa which alone has almost 860,000 ccTLDs, Aboulfeth said. Otherwise, Africa has about 877,000 gTLDs, with about 275,000 registered in South Africa.

"And here we are talking about a whole continent with 54 countries! We definitely need to grow that number because it is [becoming] ridiculous at some point," Aboulfeth said.

Cost is another issue that hampers the domain-name business. Moroccan hosting companies for example often choose to host outside of the country due to the high costs of bandwidth in the country, Aboulfeth said. "We are talking about more than $200 per Mbit and $2 per Mbit in Canada, for instance," he said.

"This way, even if we host local websites they are still considered an outside content website. So we need to be able to use our local infrastructure for our hosting needs," Aboulfeth said, adding that this is something local ISPs need to deal with.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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