The Barbados Government, through its Telecommunications Unit and with the agreement of Cable &Wireless (Barbados), will take over the administration of the .bb ccTLD from February 18 according to a public notice on the government’s Telecoms Unit website dated 10 January 2008.
The notice says ccTLDs are usually administered by or for respective governments. In the case of .bb, Cable & Wireless (C&W) assumed the administration of the .bb domain name from the University of Puerto Rico in 1996. Then in 2001 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government of Barbados and C&W (Bartel) Ltd. and C&W (BET) Ltd. provided for C&W to continue to perform the role of administration of the .bb domain name until such date as determined by the Government.
With the liberalization of the telecommunication sector in Barbados, consideration had to be given to the continued administration of the domain name registration. The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) had advised that the management of domain names involves government entities, academic entities, NGOs and the private sector. Should Government take over this function, training of staff is essential.
There was an exchange of correspondence between the Telecommunications Unit and Cable & Wireless in relation to taking over the administration of the .bb domain name, including the training of staff. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Switzerland was also approached re: training of staff in the various aspects of this area – legal, administration and technical, but was unable to assist.
The government says the intention is to operate a semi-restricted ccTLD and let the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office handle the legal issues, which are an integral part of domain name administration. The Inter American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL) had advised that it is the role of governments to provide a clear, coherent and predictable legal system. The main element of legal responsibility relates to duty of care and protection against issues such as defamation, infringement of copyright and/or trademarks, misappropriation of intellectual property and unjust enrichment. A semi-restricted system is where it is necessary to have a local representative with a formally-constituted presence (tax number, registered company etc.).
To read the public notice in full, see the Telecoms Unit website at telecoms.gov.bb