The Internet Network Information Center, known as InterNIC, was the Internet governing body primarily responsible for domain name and IP address allocations until September 18, 1998 when this role was assumed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). It was accessed through the domain name internic.net, with email, FTP and World Wide Web services run by Network Solutions, Inc and AT&T.
InterNIC is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The use of the term is licensed to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
The first central authority to coordinate the operation of the network was the Network Information Center (NIC) at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. In 1972, management of network resources was transferred to the newly created Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Jon Postel fulfilled the role of manager of IANA, in addition to his role as the RFC Editor, until his death in 1998.
On the ARPANET, hosts were given names to be used in place of numeric addresses and a HOSTS.TXT file was distributed by SRI International and manually installed on each host on the network to provide a mapping between these names and their corresponding network address. As the network grew, this became increasingly cumbersome. A technical solution came in the form of the Domain Name System, created by Paul Mockapetris. The Defense Data Network Network Information Center (DDN-NIC) at SRI handled all registration services, including the top-level domains mil, gov, edu, org, net, com and us. DDN-NIC also performed root nameserver administration and Internet number assignments under a United States Department of Defense contract. In 1991, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) awarded the administration and maintenance of DDN-NIC, which had been up until this point under the management of SRI for many years, to Government Systems, Inc. which subcontracted it to the small private-sector firm Network Solutions, Inc.
Up to this time, most of the growth of the Internet was in the non-military sector. Therefore, it was decided that the Department of Defense would no longer fund registration services outside of the mil domain. In 1993, the National Science Foundation of the United States, after a competitive bidding process in 1992, created the Internet Network Information Center, known as InterNIC, to manage the allocations of addresses and awarded the contract to three organizations. Registration services were to be provided by Network Solutions, directory and database services were to be run by AT&T, and information services by General Atomics. Later, General Atomics was disqualified from the contract after a review found their services not conforming to the standards of its contract. General Atomics' InterNIC functions were assumed by AT&T. AT&T discontinued InterNIC services after their contract expired.
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