Irish tech company Afilias has been selected to provide registry services for Australia’s .au domain from July this year.

The transition from the current AusRegistry, run by Neustar, is part of auDA’s Registry Transformation Project.

auDA is the administrator and industry self-regulatory policy body for Australia’s .au internet domain space.

auDA CEO Cameron Boardman said the tender process for the registry operations helped the organisation to update its technical specifications, enhance security and stability provisions and secure commitments to higher services levels.

“The new arrangements will support auDA’s Registry Transformation Project, which aims to cement community trust in the .au domain by ensuring the security, confidentiality, integrity and availability of data,” Boardman said.

“The project also promotes the development of data analytics capabilities within auDA to support compliance and policy development.”

Afilias was founded in Ireland in 2000 and is now the second largest domain name registry provider, managing over 21 million names. This includes big names like .org and .info, as well as India’s .in.

The company also worked on the establishment and testing of the current .au registry back in 2001.

Afilias will be establishing a Melbourne headquarters as part of the job, with plans to hire 20 local staff including “seasoned domain name professionals with more than 20 years global experience”.

“Afilias is proud to be trusted with stewardship of the .au TLD,” Afilias CEO Hal Lubsen said.

“We are committed to working with Cameron and his team to deliver a smooth transition for registrars and registrants and to support .au names with a new dedication to reliability and security.”

It has been a long road for selecting the new registry provider, with auDA initially entering into exclusive negotiations with Neustar to extend its contract.

This was cancelled, and auDA then moved to work with contractors to build and manage the registry itself.

The organisation then changed its mind again and launched a competitive tender process to outsource registry operations. It received nine response to the tender, which was run by a Tender Process Committee including a federal government representation.

A separate Tender Evaluation Committee then assessed the applications.

Three providers were shortlisted during the “rigorous” tender process, with Afilias eventually picked as the winner.

auDA has begun engagements with registrars, with information and test sites to be made available in early 2018.

auDA has experienced significant internal turmoil this year with eight directors leaving the organisation since June last year. This included former chair Stewart Benjamin, who resigned in July in the lead up to a planned vote of no confidence against him.

The organisation is also currently the focus of a government review into the administration of the .au domain. Launched in October, Minister Fifield said it would ensure that the management remains “fit for purpose”.

“The Turnbull government has announced a review of the management of the .au domain to ensure it remains fit for purpose in serving the needs of Australians online,” Fifield said.

“The review will be undertaken by the Department of Communications and the Arts and will examine the most appropriate framework for the domain.”