Registry Transformation Project Update

Posted by auDA on 15 March 2018

You may have seen last December we announced Afilias had been appointed as the new .au registry operator. It’s one of the biggest changes in the history of .au.

The Registry Transformation Project goals include:

  • further enhancing the trust in the .au namespace
  • improving the operational stability and performance of .au
  • becoming a world leader in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the .au registry data
  • building a data science and analytics capability in relation to registry data.


This project will ensure the registry continues to meet the needs of an expanding digital economy and offers the Australian Internet community the best possible service.

Even though we’re still a while away from the June 30 handover date, we thought it would be worth providing an update on the project and some background as well.

What does a registry operator do?

A registry operator is responsible for, among other things, ensuring two crucial sources of data are secure, accurate and always available - the information on who is responsible for each domain name (available via the WHOIS service) and the information that helps convert a name to an Internet address anywhere in the world (available via the DNS service).

Why did we choose Afilias?

In 2017 auDA conducted a tender process to select a registry operator. We received nine responses.

The responses were first assessed on the non-financial criteria including areas like the ability to perform to the technical specification, ability to meet or exceed auDA’s required service levels, ability to support the registry transformation project goals, and their security and risk management capabilities. Afilias received the highest score in the non-financial criteria.

Pricing was then considered to make an assessment of value for money. Afilias’ fees were close to the average from all submissions, and while not the lowest – Afilias was considered the best value for money when considering their score in non-financial criteria.

Added to this is Afilias’ great reputation as a registry operator. They’ve got lots of experience managing top level domains (TLDs) . Afilias supports 22 million domain name registrations across over 200 TLDs including established TLDs like .org, new generic TLDs like .global, new geographic TLDs like .vegas, new brand TLDs like .audi and 16 country code TLDs like .in (India), .me (Montenegro) and .pr (Puerto Rico).

What does this change mean for .au?

Afilias will help auDA ensure the .au namespace maintains its great global reputation for reliability and security. There’s a few key reasons why.

More infrastructure: Afilias is building new infrastructure in every state of Australia which will provide faster response times and increased capacity – and not just for people in the major cities on the east coast.

Better abuse detection: Afilias is an industry leader in proactively tackling suspicious domains linked to spam and phishing activities. This experience will help maintain the integrity and trust in the .au namespace.

More Secure: namespace is a critical part of the Australian digital economy. By working closely with Australian cyber security authorities, Afilias is ensuring that .au has the best defences against foreign and domestic security threats.

Strong local support: Afilias is the process of setting up a 20-person office in Melbourne specifically for .au. This office is also backed by their 200-strong team in North America.

Competitive pricing: The pricing of a domain name licence is always a hot topic. The wholesale pricing is made up of both the Afilias’ registry operator fees and also auDA’s domain name fees. We’re confident the Afilias offering will enable auDA to provide better value for money for registrants.

What’s the timeline?

The switch over happens on June 30. With around 3.1 million registered domain names, this is the biggest registry transfer since the transfer of .org to Afilias, but it’s a process Afilias has managed many times since. As they point out on their blog, end users won’t notice anything as the transfer takes place.

Right now, auDA is working closely with Afilias, registrars, and the current registry operator Neustar Asia Pacific to make sure everything is in place to ensure a flawless transition. Registrars are currently in phase 1 testing of the Afilias operational environment and the toolkit which allows them to manage most aspects of the domain lifecycle. Phase 2 testing is expected to begin in soon.

Keep checking back for updates on the project.