Possibly the first second-level domain created in South Africa, AC.ZA provides a unique Internet domain name space for use by higher education institutions, learned societies and associated research and support institutions that are domiciled in the Republic of South Africa. Education is a fundamental driver of personal, national and global development, as confirmed by Nelson Mandela in his quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Following this, AC.ZA has proved to be a fundamental backbone of the online education society since the time when the first in-country name servers for South Africa were housed in our universities, and the Foundation for Research Development’s (FRD) domain was frd.ac.za.
Originally, looking back to November 1990 when IANA first approved the establishment of the ccTLD, ‘.ZA’, the Uninet Project, was the first custodian of the .ZA namespace. Since then, operations of AC.ZA have been handed over to TENET, the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa NPC. TENET acts as the Administrator, Registry Operator, Moderator, and sole Registrar of the domain AC.ZA under authority from the .za Domain Name Authority. .ZADNA is the statutory regulator for the .ZA country code top-level domain for South Africa.
TENET’s decision to onboard AC.ZA to the DNS Business Gateway SRS stemmed from two key deciding factors – firstly, their in-house registry system had become dated over the years and was no longer fit for purpose. And secondly, they were drawn to the zone security enhancements available through DNSSEC on the Gateway SRS. Even though this decision brings about the end of an era dating back the the early origins of the Internet in South Africa, the partnership between TENET and DNS Business has had strong roots ever since the UniForum SA days!
TENET was also drawn to onboard onto the DNS Business Gateway SRS as they were confident in the South African context of DNS Business as well as our background working with .ZADNA’s evolving requirements. ‘It’s what set DNS Business apart from other potential registry services’ Guy Halse (TENET – Director Trust and Identity). ‘We investigated replacing the current solution with another in-house or open source one. However, given the amount of work required and, given that we don’t currently charge for AC.ZA domains, it made more sense to outsource it. Partnering with DNS Business allows us to continue to run the AC.ZA domain in accordance with the best current practices without incurring significant re-investment into in-house systems.’ He added.
For DNS Business, the on-boarding of AC.ZA onto our Gateway SRS adds a new Registry to our Platform. We are continually expanding our reach, both in Africa and around the world and we look forward to a long lasting and fruitful partnership with TENET.