The cooperative Registrar Alliance announced on 15 January 2014 that it will be applying for registry status for the .ch top-level domain (TLD). SWITCH has been the registry for the .ch TLD for over 25 years and ensures the security and stability of the Swiss Internet. As an independent non-profit foundation and partner of the Swiss universities, SWITCH puts a great deal of technical expertise as well as unique know-how and experience into accomplishing this task, which is a huge responsibility. The SWITCH foundation is convinced that it is best placed to perform the registry function.
Urs Eppenberger, Head of Commercial Customers at SWITCH, explains: "In operating the DNS (Domain Name System) infrastructure for .ch, SWITCH makes sure that the Swiss Internet is stable and protects it against failures and attacks." Protecting the Internet in Switzerland is SWITCH's top priority. In 2010, for example, it became the first national registry to start successfully combating malware (harmful software) on its country’s websites. This makes the .ch TLD one of the most secure in the world.
SWITCH currently performs the functions of both registry and registrar under contract to the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), but its contract expires at the end of March 2015.
While OFCOM was evaluating the separation of these two functions, SWITCH expressed its support for maintaining State control over the registry function while opening up the registrar function to the free market. Registrars are partners of SWITCH. They are official domain name providers and offer their customers additional services needed for their websites.
The registry for .ch is a critical infrastructure for Switzerland and must therefore meet particularly high security standards. SWITCH’s many years of experience and proven track record guarantee the robust design and stable operation of this critical infrastructure. At the national level, SWITCH fosters close contact with authorities and organisations such as the Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES), the Cybercrime Coordination Unit Switzerland (CYCO) and the Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI).
At the international level, meanwhile, SWITCH is in contact or involved with a large number of key organisations, including ICANN, CENTR and ENISA as well as the IGF, ITU, OECD, DNS-OARC, IETF, FIRST and the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
Explanation of terms:
A registry, often called a Network Information Centre (NIC), is an organisation responsible for the central administration of resources needed to operate a country's Domain Name System (DNS). In particular, it is in charge of registering the country’s domain names. Examples include nic.at in Austria and denic.de in Germany. SWITCH is contracted by OFCOM in Switzerland to register domain names ending in .ch and by the Office for Communications in the Principality of Liechtenstein to register domain names ending in .li.
A registrar is a company that offers its customers domain name registration services as well as additional services such as e-mail and website hosting. It thus acts as a partner of the registry and an interface between the registry and the end customers (domain name holders).
Top-level domain (TLD)
TLDs include all the world’s country domains, such as .ch (Switzerland), .de (Germany) and .at (Austria), as well as the "generic" TLDs such as .com, .net, .org etc.