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New Zealand Domain Change Brings End Of Era

New Zealand Domain Change Brings End Of Era

The Internet in New Zealand has matured since its beginnings in 1989 when NASA provided the first connection to the global Internet. "In many ways the Internet has changed beyond recognition over the last 13 years" said InternetNZ President Keith Davidson.

"New Zealand owes a huge debt of gratitude to NASA for assisting us to connect in 1989, and by providing off-shore back-up servers for free ever since. It is a classic example of the co-operative way the global Internet developed." Davidson said.

InternetNZ, manager of the New Zealand name space, has worked steadily to bring the New Zealand domain name space onto a more formal footing in response to the development of the Internet as critical infrastructure for the country.

"This has meant that InternetNZ has had to move away from the original voluntary relationships, such as that with NASA, and into more commercial and contractually based services." said Davidson. "One result is that the last vestige of a long standing relationship between the New Zealand Internet community and the US space agency NASA has had to come to an end."

In November, the New Zealand domain name registry operator, .nz Registry Services, contracted California based UltraDNS Corporation to provide international Domain Name System (DNS) services. The UltraDNS service provides multiple points of presence, placing New Zealand DNS data close to users of New Zealand domain names throughout the world, and greatly enhancing the New Zealand DNS performance for non-New Zealand users.

"The move from NASA to UltraDNS for international services is necessary, but it certainly marks the end of an era." Davidson stated. "National DNS services are provided by five name servers within New Zealand, but it is essential to have international services as well."

In 1989, NASA through the PACCOM consortium, partly funded the original connection of Internet sites in New Zealand to the rest of the Internet in the United States, via a gateway located at the University of Waikato.

As part of the PACCOM consortium, NASA provided a name server located at the Ames Research Centre in California to assist in providing domain name service for the .nz top level domain.

Although the PACCOM funding ceased in the early 1990s as the Waikato gateway became fully self-funding, the name server, known as MX.NSI.NASA.GOV continued to operate and provide name service outside New Zealand in case name servers within New Zealand became unreachable.

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