.ZA price increases may be on the cards

The ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) has issued a request for submissions regarding a review of the wholesale fee structure for .ZA domains.

Currently, the wholesale fee to register a .ZA domain in South Africa through the new Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) system is R45.

ZADNA has asked for feedback on whether it should change the price.

The request for feedback is open to everyone who might have an interest: ZADNA members, .ZA registry operators, .ZA registrars, and the South African Internet community.

ZADNA said the wholesale fees for the registration of second-level .ZA domains – co.za, net.za, org.za, and web.za – were last reviewed in November 2014.

“It must be noted upfront that this review of the Wholesale Fee must not be construed to be an indication or commitment by ZADNA to change the fee upwards or downwards,” the organisation said.

“Instead, the fee review is intended to better inform ZADNA if there should be any changes to the current EPP and co.za Legacy Wholesale Fee.”

The legacy wholesale fee for co.za domains is for an older system that is more costly to maintain, which has been replaced by the EPP system.

Prices for registering through the legacy system increased from R90 in 2015 to R130 in 2019. This is to encourage domain owners to switch to the EPP system.

The price of registering through the EPP system is currently fixed at R45 per year, and will remain so until 2019.

All prices exclude VAT.

Fee proposals

ZADNA has proposed a wholesale fee increase to R50, which is what the wholesale price for registering a domain was before the EPP system was introduced in 2011.

This is to cover the “ever-rising costs”.

However, it said the downside of such an increase makes .ZA domains more expensive at a time when there is increased competition from over a thousand new new generic top-level domains.

Alternatively, stakeholders may support the proposal that the wholesale domain registration fee remain unchanged.

“Instead of increasing this fee, there may be a need to first explore more operational efficiencies at the Registry and regulatory levels,” ZADNA said.

However, ZADNA said that keeping the price at R45 may simply not be in line with the increasing costs of managing the domain name infrastructure.

ZADNA also suggested there may be an argument to decrease the wholesale registration fee.

“It may be reasonably argued that the steady increase in the number of .ZA domain name registrations should be leading to proportionate economies of scale, which should actually help reduce the EPP Wholesale Fee.”

“On the other side, decreasing the EPP Wholesale Fee may result in limited capacity to invest further in more robust domain name infrastructure. In addition, lowering the EPP Wholesale Fee may only enrich Registrars, as most of them may not translate such a decrease into a decrease in the prices [consumer pay].”

Companies like Hetzner and Domains.co.za charge R79 or R80 per year for a co.za domain. Others charge as much as R100 per year.

Deadline

Those interested in commenting on the review of wholesale prices for .ZA domains have until 15 October to provide feedback.

Now read: The fight over co.za prices

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.ZA price increases may be on the cards