Senator Mike Gabbard Introduces Bill to Reserve Domain Names for Hawai‘i

HONOLULU – January 31, 2012 – Senator Mike Gabbard (West Oahu) has introduced Senate Bill 2985 to direct the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), in cooperation with the state chief information officer, to apply with the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the generic top-level domain names (gTLD) “.hawaii”, “.hi” and “.aloha”.

“It’s very important for us to apply for these top-level domain names to prevent someone from misappropriating them and possibly tarnishing the name, acronym and nickname of our state,” Senator Gabbard said.

ICANN has jurisdiction over gTLDs, such as “.com”, “.gov” and “.org”. ICANN is drastically expanding the realm of gTLDs. The application period began on January 12, 2012, and ends on April 12, 2012. The application fee is $185,000 per gTLD. In addition, state Chief Information Officer Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia has informed Senator Gabbard's office that the ongoing costs would be $165,000 annually per gTLD.

Because the application period ends on April 12, 2012, this would require an emergency appropriation from the 2011-2012 budget. DBEDT would then develop licensing procedures for approved vendors to use those gTLDs after paying a licensing fee to the state.

Senator Gabbard continued: “This could be a much-needed revenue generating measure allowing us to license the appropriate use of those top-level domain names and also help with marketing the state both on the mainland and internationally. In the near future, we could end up seeing domain names like ‘weddings.hawaii’, ‘hotels.hi’ or ‘honeymoons.aloha’.”

The text of SB 2985 can be found at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2012/bills/SB2985_.htm. For more information, contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830.