TRA now allows individuals to register Omani domain names

Muscat - 

Earlier restricted to institutions only, the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) has finally made way for individuals to register a website or a domain name in their name under the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) .om and .oman in Arabic.

In its Decision 42/2014, issued on July 10, the authority has amended some provisions of statute regulating domain names. The change comes into effect from September 10, 2014.

According to the amended Article 14 of the statute, the applicant of a domain name under ccTLD .om and .oman in Arabic must be an Omani citizen, or one of the administrative units of the state, companies or institutions, professional or non-governmental organisations, associations or non-profit institutions that have been licensed by competent authorities in the sultanate to practice activities as the case may be, and the applicant shall meet the terms stated in the agreement form of the Registrar-Registrant Agreement that is approved by the authority.

During the consultation phase, TRA had reservations over allowing individuals to use personal names as domain names as it could result in identity problems even if the registration will be on first come first served basis. “For example, the domain name yourname-yourtribename.om can be claimed by several people and if it is given to one of the hundred it will cause lots of confusion and problems,” it had stated in the consultation document issued in 2013. 

The authority was initially in favour of adopting registration of domain names for individuals with names other than personal names under .name extension (eg scorpion.names.om). “However, the authority has stuck to the basics and gone ahead allowing people to register with their real names,” said a TRA official.

Reacting to the development, Riyadh Abdul Aziz, an Internet law and technology expert, said it is a great move by TRA to finally allow Omani nationals to register Omani domain names.

“This will provide individuals with more options for domain names when they create personal websites, will provide them with greater consumer protection as they will be dealing with reputable local registrars, and will help in the creation of more local web content.”

Aziz added that while some countries such as the UK allow anyone to register a domain name under their ccTLD, many other countries regulate who can and cannot register a local domain name. “For example, Canada has a nationality or residency restriction for Canadian domain name registration. There is an argument to be made for allowing non-Omani residents register under Omani domain name, such as providing business opportunities to domain name registrars and contributing to the creation of more local web content, however, it might be wise to test how nationals deal with Omani domain names before asking to open the floodgates to all residents,” he said.

On the structure of Omani domain names, Aziz said that the “current Omani domain allocation criteria is very messy and has a negative impact on the 'brand' of Omani domain names. It would be much better for the whole system if the number of domain name variations is reduced so that it is easy to predict what an Omani domain name should look like, not try to guess whether it is .com.om, .co.om, or just .om.” 

Under institutional category, TRA allows following domain name registrations .co.om, .com.om, .edu.om, .gov.om, .org.om, .museum.om, .pro.om, .net.om and .med.om. 

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