It is important for the public to realise that one of the primary purposes of the Wholesale Fee is to sustain and enhance a critical piece of Internet infrastructure. The risks of not adequately supporting a robust and well functioning SLD space far exceeds the costs and charges associated with a single domain name registration. The Wholesale Fee is essentially an investment into bridging the digital divide and sustaining a highly competitive, relevant and secure digital space for South Africans. If the Wholesale Fee is set to increase or decrease, the decision should largely be informed by the operational and administrative costs associated with running the SLD namespace. Not much information has been provide on these costs, including whether the regulator anticipates that they will increase or decrease in the coming financial year.
One of the key focuses of the ZADNA Discussion Document on SLRS (section 3) was the recent experiences of other ccTLDs, such as Colombia (.co), United Kingdom (.UK), New Zealand (.NZ), Kenya (.KE) and Australia (.AU). We took a closer look at these examples and discovered some interesting facts. The grass is not always greener on the other side and it appears that the .ZA flagship SLD (CO.ZA) is doing pretty well, considering the challenges.
The global ccTLD market is seeing significant change with several prominent registry operators opening registrations at the second level (SLRs). It seems likely that the South Africa ccTLD administrator will follow this international SLR trend, but we should all be aware of the complexities and risks that this holds for the .za namespace. This is a challenge and opportunity that we dare not take lightly.