A coalition of "Internet insiders" announced a plan this week to revamp the Internet Domain Naming System (DNS). The plan changes the way Internet Domain Name identifiers--like .com, .mil, .edu and .org--are assigned. It also breaks the monopoly that Network Solutions now enjoys on domain names.

Under the new plan, the following domain name identifiers are available:

 ID      Target audience
------  -------------------------------------------------------------
.firm   Businesses or firms
.store  Businesses offering goods for purchase
.web    Entities emphasizing activities related to the World Wide Web
.arts   Entities emphasizing cultural and entertainment activities
.rec    Entities emphasizing recreational or entertainment activities
.info   Entities providing information services
.nom    Those who want individual or personal designation

The eleven members of the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) are drawn from high-profile international organizations, including the Internet Society, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the Internet Architecture Board, the Federal Networking Council, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Trademark Association, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The plan is to provide more identifiers and spread the distribution of domain names to 28 separate companies. How does Network Solutions feel about this?

"They are interested in cooperating with the proposal," said David Maher, an attorney with Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, in Chicago, and a member of the IAHC. "They accept the concept that their effective monopoly is coming to an end."

For the times they are a-changin'.