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July 2, 2018
A major change to Australia's .au domain namespace occurred on the weekend - but many registrants may not have been aware it happened.
On Saturday night, after six months of planning and testing, registry operations for the .au name space were transferred from AusRegistry to Afilias; an exercise that involved the transition of 3.1 million Australian domain names to the new operator.
"With the .au name space being an essential piece of national digital infrastructure, the new registry operator will help ensure the operational stability, security and integrity of the internet in Australia," said auDA, the policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for .au.
Afilias' new system for .au went live on Sunday, July 1, 2018; ahead of schedule and as planned the company reported. Registrants of Australian names shouldn't have noticed any downtime for their sites attributable to the move while it was occurring, although they were unable to make changes to their names, or register new domains during the exercise and for a period afterwards.
"Australia is now home to the biggest project of its kind in the history of the internet! No one else has transitioned 3+ million domain names from one registry to another," said Afilias; which holds the record for the previous largest shift - 2.7 million .org names in 2003. The company has been involved with 25 registry transitions.
The previous registry operator, AusRegistry, saw .au through a period of strong growth; from approximately 250,000 domains in 2002 when it took on the role to more than 3 million names today. The company said it achieved 100% DNS uptime since July 1, 2002.
For registrants in the day to day usage of their names, the change in registry operators means very little; for example, their registrar remains the same. However, for the .au namespace it represented a milestone in the development of Australia’s digital economy said auDA.
Among the plans going forward for .au is a new $12 million marketing and innovation program to be run over 4 years to increase awareness and use of Australia's country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD); which is already one of the world's most trusted extensions.
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