Separation of functions in relation to ".ch" internet addresses

With the entry into force of the Ordinance on Internet Domains (OID) at the beginning of 2015, Switch has had to restrict itself to providing the technical management of the .ch domain in relation to the global internet domain name system and can no longer directly offer registration of a .ch domain name to end customers. The holders of .ch internet addresses who are Switch customers have therefore been invited to choose a new partner at the end of their normal subscription term. The migration will be completed in summer 2016.

Revision of the legal basis

The revision of the regulatory framework at the beginning of 2015 has led to a more consistent separation of the technical activities devolving to the authorities on the one hand and the administrative work of handling relations with end users on the other. This measure follows a general trend at the international level and meets the expectations expressed almost unanimously by the economic players in the industry in an appraisal carried out in 2012. The mandate awarded to the Switch Foundation in 2003 included both tasks. At present, as part of its registry function, Switch continues to coordinate .ch internet addresses with the global domain name system (DNS). On the other hand, since the entry into force of the OID at the beginning of 2015, it can no longer offer users the option of acquiring a .ch domain name at a regulated price. This registry activity was, in fact, in direct competition with the services of other independent service providers and this slowed down the establishment of healthy competition in the market for domain name registration and for hosting internet sites. 

All stakeholders were asked to give their opinion on the concrete project to revise the regulatory framework by 17 April 2014.

Transfer of Switch customers

OFCOM is closely monitoring the transition process within the framework of the separation of SWITCH's functions in order to ensure in particular an orderly and fair transfer of current SWITCH end customers to the registrars active in the market. Accordingly, the Office and SWITCH jointly organised two information events. On 26 June, Switch's partners were able to take note of the solution adopted for the migration process drawn up by the joint OFCOM-Switch working group. The adopted solution envisaged inviting Switch customers to migrate their domain name to another registrar at the end of the normal term of their subscription.

In accordance with the regulations approved by the Federal Council, the first customers affected by this migration are those who hold at least one domain name which expires at the end of April 2015. They will be informed by mail three months before the end of their contract, thus giving them full latitude to choose their provider and to transfer their .ch address. The process will continue for 12 months until all Switch customers have transferred management of their domain names to a registrar.

Further information

The planning for the migration has also been conducted taking into account certain comments made by the thirty or so registrars who took part in an initial information meeting on 11 March 2014. At that time, OFCOM and Switch had given a detailed description of the preparatory work on customer migration. The second part of this meeting was devoted to an exchange of points of view.

After the event OFCOM received comments from the company switchplus, which are included here with the company's permission.

Other participants had announced at that time their intention to adopt a position within the framework of the consultation on the modification of the legal basis.

Specialist staff
Last modification 21.01.2015

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