Competitive tender for management of .ch domain names

Biel/Bienne, 29.03.2016 - The management of the database of .ch internet domain names is to be put out to tender. The SWITCH Foundation contract expires in mid-2017. In mid-April, the Federal Office of Communications OFCOM will launch the public invitation to tender to designate the registry manager which will ensure the organisation and central administration of the .ch domain.

Next month, OFCOM will launch the public invitation to tender for the award of the mandate to manage .ch domain names. The company which wins the contract will assume the registry function as of summer 2017. On this basis it will have to manage the national database of .ch domain names and ensure the electronic connection with the global domain name system (DNS). It will also be responsible for the assignment and revocation of the right to use an internet address. Since 2003, this task has been entrusted to the SWITCH Foundation. The contract between the SWITCH Foundation and OFCOM expires in mid-2017.

In order to apply for the registry function, candidate companies will have be able to prove that they are capable of providing the services defined in the Ordinance on Internet Domains (OID). In particular they will have to demonstrate that they have the skills and personnel essential for the satisfactory operation of the technical infrastructure, i.e. the Domain Name System (DNS). With approximately 2 million registered domain names, .ch is regarded as a critical resource for Switzerland. The requirements in relation to guaranteeing stability and security are consequently very stringent. For example, the registry is required to put in place measures to combat cybercriminality and to ensure the system's security and accessibility. In order to guarantee integrity and data protection in accordance with the national legislation, the public invitation to tender is open only to companies based in Switzerland which themselves (along with their parent companies) have no dependent relationship with a foreign legal system requiring excessive disclosure of data.

Interested companies will be able to submit their candidature until mid-July 2016. In the autumn, OFCOM will designate the company which will perform the registry function from mid-2017 onwards.

Delegation of the registry function

Addressing resources, such as telephone numbers or .ch internet addresses, are important resources for the country. Therefore their management is a state task which has been entrusted to OFCOM, as stipulated in the Telecommunications Act, since its creation in 1997. However, the Federal Parliament has introduced an exception to this principle by enshrining in law the possibility of delegating the registry function to a third party. By so doing, they have made it possible for the SWITCH Foundation to continue its historical activity of management of .ch domain names (Official Bulletin National Council 1997 p. 95). In the case of .swiss, OFCOM decided to assume this task directly and currently ensures the stability, coordination and continuity of management of the .swiss domain.

Address for enquiries

Federal Office of Communications OFCOM
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Federal Office of Communications