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InterNIC, an abbreviation for Internet Network Information Center, 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). InterNIC was accessed through the website "internic.net" which was run by Network Solutions, Inc. and AT&T.
The first central authority to coordinate the operation of the network was the Network Information Center (NIC) at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California). In 1972, management of these issues was given to the newly created Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
As the early ARPANet grew, hosts were referred to by names, and a HOSTS.TXT file was distributed by SRI International and manually installed on each host on the network. As the network grew, this became increasingly cumbersome. A technical solution came in the form of the Domain Name System. The Defense Data Network Network Information Center (DDN-NIC) at SRI handled all registration services, including the Top Level Domains of .mil, .gov, .edu, .org, .net, .com and .us, as well as 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. who subcontracted it to the small private-sector Network Solutions, Inc.
At this point in history most of the growth on the Internet was in the non-military sector. Therefor, it was decided that the Department of Defense would no longer fund registration services outside of the .mil TLD. In 1993 the National Science Foundation, 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.
In 1998 both IANA and InterNIC were reorganized under the control of ICANN, a California non-profit corporation contracted by the Department of Commerce to manage a number of Internet-related tasks. The role of operating the DNS system was privatized, and opened up to competition, while the central management of name allocations would be awarded on a contract tender basis.
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