I know that a lot of American’s complain about the French, but in this case they got it right and we got it wrong.
Like Verisign which operates the .com/.net registry under contract, AFNIC is the company that run’s the .FR registry for France under contract from the government and has done so since 1998.
Due to complaints, France opened up bidding for the contract to run the registry.
There were over a dozen bidders for the contract including FRNIC which PCWorld.fr named “as favorite to take over“. FRNIC is an consisting of a share registrar Starting Dot and the Free Enterprise Foundation, also Registration Office for Internet extensions applied to run .Fr, which French is a subsidiary of Open Registry.
However AFNIC was just awarded a five year renewal of the contract but unlike the Verisign contract to operate .com/.net, in which they are guaranteed a 7% rate increase in every 4 of 6 years, with a presumptive renewal, all AFNIC got was a five year contract.
Under the new contract AFNIC will actually have to LOWER the wholesale price of a .FR domain name, over the next two years, although the wholesale price for a .FR domain is already 20% lower than a .com (not counting the 7% price increases Verisign will be entitled to in the next 4 out of 6 years).
In addition, AFNIC under the new contract agreed to invest additional amounts in security and R&D for the .Fr registry and to promote the .fr TLD.
Additionally under the new agreement, AFNIC agreed to donate a portion of the profits from the .fr TLD to a Support fund for the development of the Internet, with independent governance, which will fund research initiatives for the development of the Internet.
Of course once this type of contract is opened to competitive bidding the consumer wins.
As you know, in the case of Verisign’s .com/.net contract there were no other bidders allowed and we wound up with a no bid, forever contract with a guaranteed rate increase although Verisign already operates at a 50% profit margin.
This should be an eye opener to someone in Congress that granting a monopoly with guaranteed rate increase was a huge oversight and follow the lead of France and re-open the contract with competitive bidding which will no doubt result in a lower cost to the consumer, just like France did.