Swiss domain names .ch to be registered via a registrar (and not the SWITCH registry)

The public consultation on the new Ordinance on Internet Domains (OID) runs from 12th February 2014 to 17th April 2014. The Ordinance stipulates, among other things, that end customers will no longer be able to register their .ch Internet addresses directly with SWITCH in future and must instead register them via a registrar. SWITCH welcomes this new regulation.

The SWITCH foundation is currently tasked by the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) with performing a dual role for .ch domain names. In its role as the registry, it is responsible for maintaining the domain name database. At the same time, it also has the role of registrar, which involves selling .ch domain names directly to end customers. This dual role is to come to an end. With effect from 2015, SWITCH will focus on regulated registry activities. It will thus continue to ensure the secure and stable operation of the country-specific top-level domain .ch.

Regulation no longer necessary
«We welcome this separation between the sovereign, regulated function and the business with end customers. Over the years, SWITCH has built up a market for domain names that works well,» says Dr Andreas Dudler, Managing Director of SWITCH. «There are now around 60 registrars offering complete services for end customers to choose from. These include our subsidiary switchplus, which also markets .ch domain names. As a neutral, independent foundation, we will in future concentrate on the secure and stable operation of the registry, together with our services for the Swiss universities.»

Regulated process
SWITCH and OFCOM have set up a working group to regulate and oversee the transfer of end customers from SWITCH to the registrars. SWITCH will inform its clients in good time once OFCOM has set deadlines and determined the transfer processes.

The registry: working to ensure a secure and stable Internet in Switzerland
In operating the DNS (Domain Name System) infrastructure for .ch, SWITCH makes sure that the Swiss Internet is stable and accessible worldwide and protects it against failures and attacks. Protecting the Internet in Switzerland is SWITCH’s top priority. SWITCH’s renowned Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) has been successfully combating malware (harmful software) on Swiss websites since 2010, making .ch one of the most secure top-level domains in the world. The registry for .ch is a critical infrastructure for Switzerland and must therefore meet particularly high security standards. SWITCH’s many years of experience and proven track record guarantee the robust design and stable operation of this critical infrastructure. At the international level, meanwhile, SWITCH works together with the authorities and is in contact or involved with key organisations such as ICANN, CENTR and ENISA as well as the IGF, ITU, OECD, DNS-OARC, IETF, FIRST and the Anti-Phishing Working Group

Explanation of terms

A registry is an organisation that centrally administers the operation of a country’s Domain Name System (DNS). In particular, it is in charge of registering the country’s domain names. Examples include in Austria and in Germany. SWITCH is contracted by OFCOM in Switzerland to register domain names ending in .ch and by the Office for Communications in the Principality of Liechtenstein to register domain names ending in .li.

A registrar is a company that offers its customers domain name registration services as well as additional services such as e-mail and web hosting. It thus acts as a resale partner of the registry and an interface between the registry and the end customers (domain name holders).


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the blog in 2012.

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