The Maltese country code operator NIC (Malta) has announced they will make available second level .mt domain names from December 1. It won’t be a free-for-all to commence, rather a Preferential Registration Period will run from December 1, 2017 to November 30, 2020 with special rights given to existing registrants of .mt domain names. During the Preferential Registration Period, those with existing domain names, such as name.com.mt, will be able to register their domain name at the second level, such as name.mt, for free. NIC (Malta) also announced a new fee structure that comes into effect as from December 1, 2020 that will see annual registration fees halved compared to current values.
Nic (Malta) gave the following main reasons for adopting the new policy:
More choice – Through the new policy NIC(Malta) will be offering more choice to existing and future registrants in the .mt namespace.
Simpler, shorter names – Domain names under .mt will no longer necessarily require an additional three-letter second level domain name, resulting in shorter and snappier names. The focus of the domain name can be on the registrant’s preferred branding.
Avoids inappropriate labelling – Some domain names do not quite fit within the existing hierarchical structure which categorises a domain name by commercial (.com.mt), non-profit (.org.mt), internet related service provider (.net.mt), educational (.edu.mt) and governmental (.gov.mt) organisation type. Thus, for example, individuals may register their personal domain names without any hindrance.
Follows similar changes in the wider Internet – Other countries have adopted similar changes to their policies, such as for example in the United Kingdom (.uk) and New Zealand (.nz). In addition, IANA has recently introduced a large number of generic top-level domain names which are bound to increase in the future. Therefore, this new policy has been implemented in order for the .mt domain to remain relevant in the evolving Internet.
The new policy has been approved by NIC(Malta) following a public consultation exercise last year. The feedback received from the public, industry players and interested parties showed that there is widespread agreement to introducing second level domain name registration under .mt.
The new Domain Name Registration Policy together with the corresponding Terms and Conditions for registering new domain names effective as from 1 December 2017 can be found at nic.org.mt, together with further information on how this change will impact existing and potential new holders of domain names registered under nic.org.mt and an FAQ dealing with the changes in the Domain Name Registration Policy.