[Updated] There are a number of local websites — which are hosted on .bm domains — inaccessible this weekend, and multiple email addresses using the .bm have been experiencing issues.
The Government has not yet responded to our request for clarification, however unofficial reports suggest that these websites may be inaccessible as a number of expired domains ceased functioning.
Most domain services provide advance notice prior to expiry, and the Bermuda domain website states, “You will be notified 60, 30, 15 and 7 days prior to your domain name expiring”, however unofficial reports suggest that some clients may not have received any form of advance notice.
This morning, One Communications status update said, “One Communications is aware of an issue with some DNS domains ending with .bm [example, logic.bm or northrock.bm].
“While One Communication’s DNS servers are functioning correctly, many .bm domains are showing as expired. We are working with the authority responsible with the .bm domains to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
“Customers may experience issues accessing sites and servers ending with .bm, including www.logic.bm, mail.logic.bm, www.northrock.bm, mail.northrock.bm, etc.”
This afternoon the company stated, “The issue with One Communications’s DNS domains has been resolved. However, some other customer’s DNS domains might still not be working. The owners of those domains are advised to contact BermudaNIC directly to resolve their domains. Their website is www.bermudanic.bm.”
As far as renewing an expired domain, the website states, “If your name has expired, it may still be possible to renew it. Once a domain name has reached its expiry date, it will enter a Grace Period.
“Domains can be renewed within this period for a cost of 1 year renewal. At the end of the Grace Period, domains not renewed then enter a period called Redemption Grace Period [RGP].
“This is a thirty  day period that begins after a registrar requests that a registry delete a domain. Domains can still be renewed within RGP but in addition to the 1 year renewal fee for the domain, there is also a $150 administrative fee to renew the domain.”
We asked the Government for clarification this afternoon, and we will update with their response as able.
Update Jan 8, 1.06pm: The Registry General Department has provided in-depth responses on the matter, please see the responses in full below.
Can the Govt confirm or deny they have made multiple domains non-functional?
Response: With the new .BM domain name system, domains registrations expire automatically if payment has not been submitted by credit card via their on-line account.
If confirmed, can the Govt comment on the lack of notice provided?
Response: The statement that there was a “lack of notice provided” is incorrect. Prior to the new system going live, registrants of a .BM domain name were advised [via public ad campaign, press release and emails] to log onto the new system to create an account and to make payments.
It should be noted that notices were issued via email between the months of April and June 2016 to all domain Registrants advising them of the new registration fees and to update their contact info on the new system. The email notice [reprinted at the end of the release] was sent on 15th April 2016 to all domain Registrants.
A second email was sent to all the major businesses that are members of the representative groups such as the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers [ABIR] and Association of Bermuda International Companies [ABIC] to advise them to update their contact information. In addition, a press release and public advertisements were published during this period.
The Domain Registrants that did log into the system and create an account received automatic email notifications for domain renewals 90, 60, 30 and 10 days prior to final expiration. We requested a report from the vendors and found that, unfortunately, the domain registrants that were affected had not logged into the system to create an account and provide their contact information. As a result they did not receive the automated alerts.
If confirmed, when will the Govt get all these domains [ergo websites] back online?
Response: Once they were notified the Registry General Department has been addressing the issue and is working with both the system vendor and the Government Information Technology Office to resolve this matter. Any domain names that had expired due to the above issue will be made active within 48 hours. The Department will be contacting the Registrants to provide them with an update, as needed. Any company that is experiencing a problem can contact the Registrar General at 295-5151 ext: 1622 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If confirmed, what steps will the Govt take to prevent having multiple Bermuda websites rendered inaccessible without notice again?
Response: The Registry General will be contacting those domain registrants whose domains are either expired or close to expiring to assist them in registering their details on-line. Going forward, the Department has arranged to receive, on a regular basis, reports of domain registrants that have not submitted their payment to ensure that they have created an account and updated their contact details. Once all domains are properly registered, it is expected that the automatic email notifications will provide all domain registrants with adequate notice to submit their payments when required.
As noted in the response to question 2, The email sent on 15th April 2016 stated the following:
“Dear .BM Domain Name Contact,
You are receiving this notice as the Registrant, Administrative Contact or Technical Contact of a .BM domain name.
Please be advised of the Government Fee Amendment Regulations 2016.
As of 1st April 2016, the registration fee for a new .BM domain name is now $100. The annual renewal fee for a domain name is now $65.
In addition, the BermudaNIC Registry would like to advise that its new online registration system is in its final stages. The actual go-live date will be shared soon.
It is important that the registrant email address on all .BM domain name registrations is current and up to date, as this is the email address that will be used to set up your new account in the online registrar system. Registration details can be checked by clicking on the “look up a domain name-WHOIS” link, on www.bermudanic.bm. If you need to update your registrant email address, send an email with your domain name and the registrant email details to email@example.com before 29th April 2016.
Your online account will need to be created before renewals or any other activity can be made to your domain name or its registration details. Once the system is live, all payments going forward must be made by credit card via your online account. Payment will no longer be accepted via direct deposit, wire transfer or in person. Further information will be forthcoming.
Any questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.