The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) conducted an e-mail interview with Patrick Hosein in April 2005, the administrator of the Trinidad and Tobago Network Information Centre (TTNIC). The TTNIC is responsible for the registration and administration of Internet domain names under the TT (Trinidad and Tobago) Top Level Domain. Examples of such domain names are those ending with .tt, .co.tt, .org.tt, .edu.tt, etc. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has recently assumed control of the .gov.tt subdomain.
Here are his responses to our questions :
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who is the administrator of the TTNIC?
Well I grew up in Trinidad (was born in Curepe and attended Curepe Pres and CIC). I attained five degrees from MIT including a PhD degree in EECS and have worked for Ericsson, Bell Labs, AT&T Labs and was a Lecturer at UWI.
My research interests include resource management algorithms for telecommunications and wireless networks (with nine patents and several publications in the area).
When was the TTNIC formed?
Some time in 1995
How did you get involved with the .tt domain?
After returning to T&T in 1991 I saw a great need for Internet access at UWI. I spent a great deal of time trying to obtain access and so got involved in all aspects necessary to achieve it. Eventually I was able to get email through UUCP and in 1995 I was able to get a dial-up access account through which I connected the UWI LAN 🙂
The OAS (who was at the time in control of the TT domain) believed that I was the most qualified person to provide the administrative duties and so requested ICANN to make the change. However, I have since been trying to have others take control (UWI CS dept, UWI Eng, TIDCO etc) and resisiting those who have been trying to take control (TSTT, Telecom Division etc).
What motivated you to maintain the .tt domain over the years?
In the early years nobody (UWI, Govt etc) were interested or understood the potential of the Internet and of course nobody was willing to fund anything (one UWI professor called it a “playground for students”). At that time the University of Puerto Rico controlled the .TT domain and I felt that we were competent to do it ourselves and eventually OAS asked me to do the job … on a voluntary basis. So the motivation is the time and effort spent in getting things going in the early years and the effort still invested in keeping things running 24×7.
What type of organisation is the TTNIC? (e.g. non-profit, registered non-profit company, etc.)
Who were the original board of directors of TTNIC at the time of incorporation?
Patrick Hosein, George Gobin and Feisal Mohammed.
Who are the current board of directors?
Patrick Hosein and George Gobin
Does the TTNIC get financial support from Government or other third parties? If yes, who are these third parties?
No. We have always been self-funded.
According to http://www.iana.org/root-whois/tt.htm, there are no .tt domain root servers located in Trinidad and Tobago. Why is this?
Access to the root servers needs to be reliable … Internet access to Trinidad is controlled by TSTT … need I say more.
Who owns and/or maintains the root servers for .tt?
TTNIC owns and controls the primary … the secondaries are contracted.
What is the typical hardware configuration of a .tt domain server?
For security reasons I will only say it is commercial Linux on an Intel platform. Technical decisons are made based on technical facts .. not on politics 🙂
What is the speed of the connection to the Internet for the .tt domain servers?
At least 2Mbps
Are there any foreign third parties (e.g. non-profit organisations, technology companies, user groups, etc.) assisting with the maintainence of the .tt domain? If yes, who are they?
No not really. Registration fees are used to pay for hardware, software, leased internet lines, disaster recovery procedures, office space in POS, secondary server contracting, accounting etc.
What was the first domain name registered under .tt (other than nic.tt) ?
I believe it might have been niherst.gov.tt (in the old UUCP days). The first one I registered was uwi.tt (I ignored the convention that was being used by the ther campuses since it would have been unnecessarily lengthy). Naturally I took a lot of heat for this 🙂
Has the TTNIC ever had to resolve a cybersquatting incident? If yes, is it possible for you to provide us with details?
No we have not had any cybersquatting issues .. I think because of the way we run things.
According to the TTNIC website, the Government of T&T recently assumed control of the .gov.tt subdomain. How/why did this come about?
You would have to ask them the answer to this question .. but if you are Trini you probably know the answer already.
What has the TTNIC done to promote the .tt domain over the years?
Not as much as we should have done … we always thought it was a temporary assignment. Over the last two years we have been in discussions with the TT govt who is planning to take control and so have done less in this area.
Because of this continuous uncertainty in the direction of the TT domain we have resisted large scale promotions since our plans could change immediately after the Govt takes control.
Note that we do offer free domain names to all schools (edu.tt and uwi.tt), Governmental agencies (gov.tt) and the military (mil.tt). We also provide free hosting services to all schools who request it and over the years have made several contributions to schools for computer hardware and software. We presently support research staff in the EE dept at UWI. We also provide EE MSc scholarships. We believe that these actions help promote the .tt domain since they are aimed at those who will eventually play a dominant role in the local IT community.
Has the TTNIC ever considered providing an incentive (discount perhaps?) to ISPs and webmasters based in Trinidad and Tobago to encourage their customers and clients to use a .tt domain name?
Yes we have discussed this and had planned to provide a limited number of free domain names for each locally registered companies and offset these costs with fees from foreign registrations. We also would provide discounts for local ISPs etc. This project has been placed on hold since such contracts may not be binding for whoever eventually handles the TT domain.
The cost of registering a .tt domain name in 2005 costs more than registering a .com or .org domain. Why is this?
We would like to change our fee structure but have placed things on hold at the request of the TT govt.
In your opinion, are there advantages to using a .tt domain name?
Yes .. besides the name association we believe that we offer a more trini friendly service. Example, I have received and acted upon change requests on a Sunday night for a Monday morning presentation!
What are your views on local websites not using the .tt domain?
I guess they do it to give their customers the perception that their company or organization is more international in nature.
Who do you consider to be the stakeholders in managing the .tt domain?
The local internet community.
Are there any persons or groups working on plans for the future of TTNIC? If yes, is it possible for you to provide us with details?
This depends on the outcome of ongoing discussions with the Trinidad Government.
Do you believe that there should be changes in the way TTNIC is administered?
TTNIC is just a company … so I would say instead that there should be changes in the way that the TT domain is administered.
If yes, what sort of changes?
I strongly believe that UWI and not the Trinidad Government should play the dominant role in running the TT domain.
What are your thoughts on the suggestions put forward in the document “Redelegation of Country Code Top Level Domains” (PDF ; 245K) ?
I endorse the principles of the document. My concern is that in our case the Government may not want the non-profit company to “Operate completely independent of the Government”.
The DNS function must be performed with low latency and high reliability …. anything that would jeopardise this performance (i.e. bureacracy) should be avoided at all costs.
Any final thoughts or comments?
I am comitted to continue providing the present high levels of performance and reliabilty of the TT DNS function. My hope is that, if and when control of the TT domain is changed, that the same performance levels are maintained.