Why is the national domain not Slovak?

The internet community is critical of the current system in which the national domain is not in the state’s hands.

The system Slovakia uses to administer its national internet domain is quite unique in the European Union, but it looks like it will not change soon. On the contrary, the state seems to be preserving the current state widely criticised by the internet community.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatisation signed an amendment to the contract with the private administrator of the national domain, SK-Nic, on August 4, much to the dismay of several subjects active in the internet environment. Moreover, the company will soon change owners, which in fact means that the domain will be administered from abroad.

“A private company does not have any rivals since the national domain .sk is a monopoly commodity,” Ondrej Jombík, chair of the Association of Webhosting Providers (ZPW) and initiator of the NašaDoména.sk petition, explained to The Slovak Spectator. “It has no reason to improve the services and decrease prices. This has been happening for the past 15 years.”

The situation would be different if the domain were administered by a non-profit organisation established by the state. The state has more control over the organisation, which can carry out actions and use profits only in a strictly defined way, Jombík added.

In private hands

The history of transferring the national domain .sk into private hands goes back to the 1990s.

At the beginning, the national domain was administered by a group of enthusiasts at Comenius University in Bratislava who were authorised by the state. The administration of the domain with several hundreds of registered users was later moved under dubious conditions and without the knowledge of the administrators’ association to the company Eunet Slovakia in 1999. It later changed to Euroweb. It was bought by DanubiaTel in 2004, and changed its name to SK-Nic, the Euractiv.sk website…

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