The country code top-level domain (ccTLD) '.co' has been administrated by Los Andes University since the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) granted the provision of this service to its Technology Information Centre in 1991.

In 2001 Los Andes University announced its intention to commercialize the '.co' not as a ccTLD, but as an abbreviation of 'company', in order to allow international companies to use either the traditional '.com' or the Colombian '.co'.

The Consejo de Estado (the highest administrative court in Colombia) recently answered a consultation filed by the Ministry of Telecommunications with the following considerations:

  • The ccTLD '.co' is of public interest;

  • The ccTLD '.co' is part of Colombia's national cultural identity, and its administration must be regulated by the state;

  • Its administration is considered a public service; and

  • The Ministry of Telecommunications is the entity with exclusive authority and competence to regulate, establish and control the ccTLD. The ministry must adopt a complete normative scheme including these considerations and must guarantee its service to all Colombians.

As a consequence of this decision, Los Andes University is considering the possibility of returning the administration of the '.co' domain name to ICANN, as it will not be feasible for it to continue to administer this service under the current circumstances.

For further information on this topic please contact Alejandro Linares Cantillo or Mauricio Jaramillio Campuzano at G√≥mez Pinzon & Asociados by telephone (+57 1 310 7055) or by fax (+57 1 310 6646) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).