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Bharti, PNB, Delhi Metro’s domains stuck as Net 4 website goes down

Net 4 domain owners have not been able to control their domains as the company is undergoing bankruptcy proceedings. While the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which approves registrars like Net 4, has terminated Net4’s accreditation, the National Company Law Tribunal has ordered a stay on the termination at insolvency professionals’ urging.

ICANN on Sunday filed an affidavit with the NCLT arguing that since domains hosted and registered by Net 4 had gone down, action would soon have to be taken to make sure that users were protected.

  • Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said in a complaint that it was facing issues with its website dmrcsmartcard.com and needed urgent support to obtain an auth code to migrate to another registrar.
  • Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, the state owned power distribution company, complained that it was facing DNS issues and email problems and needed urgent support.
  • The Bharti group, which owns Airtel, said in a complaint through a lawyer that some of its domains were held up because of Net 4’s bankruptcy — which domains are held up isn’t clear.
  • Punjab National Bank also has domains like pnbupi.com, pnbdubai.com, and pnbuk.com that are down. The Punjab National Bank’s Dubai website was last captured by the Internet Archive in February 2020, and is currently down.

“Just in a matter of three days, i.e., on 14, 15 and 16 April 2021 alone, ICANN received approximately 2,400 new complaints regarding Net 4’s failure to provide services and unresponsiveness,” James W Hedlund, ICANN’s Senior Vice President, Contractual Compliance, said in the affidavit. This is over one fourth of all the 9,000+ complaints ICANN has received since January 2020, representing a significant deterioration of the circumstances Net 4 customers are facing.

“I pray that this Hon’ble Tribunal urgently intervene in this matter and vacate the ad-interim stay against ICANN’s termination of the [Registrar Accreditation Agreement], directed vide order dated 13 March 2021 in I.A. No. 1228 of 2021,” Hedlund wrote. It is unclear when the NCLT will pronounce its order on this application — the case has been posted for orders, meaning the next time the tribunal pronounces an opinion will be to pronounce its orders on the matter.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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