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Commerce, NSI extend trial registration period

For the second time, the Commerce Department and Network Solutions agree to extend the trial period for testing a shared registration system for domain names.

For the second time, the Commerce Department and Network Solutions have agreed to extend the trial period for testing a shared registration system for domain names, both sides confirmed today.

The "test bed" period, during which five companies are testing software that allows them to register domain names ending in ".com," ".net," and ".org," has been extended to August 6. The period, which began April 26 and was originally slated to end June 25, had been extended until today.

Today's move was not unexpected. So far, only three of the five test-bed registrars are up and running under the shared registration system. The other two--America Online and France Telecom--have provided no estimate of when they expect to go live with their systems.

The test-bed period also has faced legal hurdles since it commenced. NSI and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, appointed to take over administration of the Net, have reached an impasse on the nonprofit's role and whether NSI is under its control.

Registrars hoping to get a piece of the lucrative registration market also have complained that rules imposed on them by NSI put them at a competitive disadvantage.