Pitcairn Internet Domain Names


     11 June 2001               20c, 50c, $1.00, $5.00                                Mint and CTO                  $6.70

                                                                                                   FDC                                 $7.70 
 Technical Details

Release Date:             11 June 2001
Denominations:           20c, 50c, $1.00 and $5.00
Stamp design:          typeface, Wellington New Zealand
Printer:                       Southern Colour Print, Dunedin NZ
Process:                  Offset Lithography
Paper:                     Pressure sensitive stamp stock
Stamp Size:             35.00mm diameter
Perforation Gauge:     Self adhesive with die cut  and simulated perforation
Format:                       Sheet of 20 stamps without gutter
Mint and CTO:           $6.00
First Day Cover:         $7.00

This issue, Pitcairn’s second ever self-adhesive issue celebrates Pitcairn’s success in operating its own Internet top-level domain and the establishment of its Domain Name Register.

Every country in the world has an Internet domain suffix.  For the United Kingdom it is .uk, for Germany it is .de, for New Zealand .nz and for Pitcairn it is .pn. All the countries' suffixes were created by the IANA (Internet Assigned Names Authority) which grew out of the US military department, which originally established the Internet.  The suffixes allocated are generally taken from the ISO 3166-1 list, which gives a two-letter code for each country and territory around the world.  Even though Pitcairn had no Internet connection, the .pn top-level domain (tld) was created along with all the other countries' tlds.

.pn got off to a shaky start when in 1997, an individual in the British Isles obtained control of the domain without consulting the Pitcairn community, and without adhering to the rules laid down by the IANA. Luckily, this was immediately spotted by our Pitcairn enthusiasts overseas.

The Pitcairn Islands Administration immediately sought to have the delegation rescinded and reassigned to the Administration to operate on behalf of the inhabitants of Pitcairn. Nevertheless it took over two years of concerted effort by the Pitcairn Island Council, Pitcairn Administration, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK to return the domain to the Pitcairn community.

Ultimately, the Island Council agreed that a petition would be circulated among the inhabitants, to demonstrate that the request for the tld to be reassigned to the Administration, to be operated for the benefit of all on Pitcairn, had the full support of the community.  The petition was signed by all but two Pitcairners and was transmitted to the headquarters of the IANA (now ICANN) in Los Angeles.  ICANN accepted that it was the wish of almost every member of the community that the tld be re-delegated and in early April 2000, proprietorship of the Pitcairn top-level domain was reassigned to the Pitcairn Islands Administration.  Pitcairn became the first, and only country to date, to have its own domain reassigned, without the consent of the existing holder.

Since April 2000, the .pn top-level domain registry has been operated from the offices of the Pitcairn Islands Administration in Auckland, New Zealand, on behalf of the inhabitants of Pitcairn.

High among the aims of the Administration is the provision of Internet connectivity at an acceptable cost for all the inhabitants of Pitcairn.  It is estimated that the installation of a satellite facility to allow high speed data transfer at a reasonable per-minute cost, could cost in the vicinity of USD500,000.  With such an installation, folk on Pitcairn, including the children at the school, would be able to "surf the net" and communicate effectively and at speed with friends in the outside world.

It is now 12 months since the Administration regained stewardship of Pitcairn's domain and during that period, interest has continued to grow in the .pn tld to a level where there are now some 1,760 .pn Internet domain names registered.  People frequently ask why it is that so many names are registered under .pn.  For many organisations, it appears that the reason is brand name protection.  Others find that the name they would like is no longer available in other domains such as .com, and apply to register it under .pn.  Still others see the letter “pn” as standing for Personal Name or Phone Number and register their own name or phone number as their address.

For further detail about the .pn domain name register and how it is operated,click here.