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New fee for ‘.bm’ websites approved

The introduction of a fee for “.bm” websites has been approved by the House of Assembly.

The Electronic Communications Amendment Act 2015, presented by Economic Development Minister Grant Gibbons, will implement a $60 annual charge for registering a website with the Bermuda country code.

Websites that are already operating will not have to pay until the anniversary of their initial registration.

The amendments also place control of the country code top-level domain of Bermuda in the hands of the relevant minister, who has the power to delegate that responsibility.

Dr Gibbons said that Bermuda College had control over the “.bm” country code until 2003, when the responsibility was transferred to the Registry General.

Opposition MPs expressed support for the fee, saying that they hoped the “cumbersome” domain registration system could be streamlined to allow easier, faster registration.

Questioned by Shadow Finance Minister David Burt about how the cost of the fee was decided, Dr Gibbons said the Registry General had conducted market research and that the fee was a middle ground between more expensive jurisdictions, where annual fees can be several hundred dollars, and less expensive domains such as the US.

Dr Gibbons said the Registry General was looking for a vendor to allow for online registration and payment, leading Mr Burt to suggest setting back the April 1 launch date for the fee until the automated system was in place.

The minister said he was not inclined to change the start date, saying: “We will simply have to work through the first month or two with payment by cheque or whatever. The Registry General believes they can handle this transition because, obviously, they have been thinking this through.”

Mr Burt said Government was “biting off more than it can chew” and that, while the PLP backed the fee, the manner in which it was being implemented would cause problems.

Dr Grant Gibbons (File photo)

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Published March 14, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated March 14, 2015 at 2:47 am)

New fee for ‘.bm’ websites approved

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