We don't care which is the domainextension and we don't care who handles it. These are not essential discussions. THe only discussion that is important is HOW it will be handled and if the new flemish domeinextension wants to make a difference it will have to manage it otherwise than our national .be domainextension is handled.
1. A public domainextension is a public good
THis is to say that is reflects the society and the interests of the region/country as a whole and that as such there has to be public oversight, control and guidance. A small private club as dns.be that is controlled by no public institution and does whatever it wants to do without any real public oversight should not be the way a public domainextension should be managed.
Therefore it should report to parliament, it should be guided by law and it should be controlled and audited by external auditors. It should have an open democratic and transparant decision process and several organisations and events that include the different stakeholders.
2. A public domainextension should be used for the public good
A domainextension is only worth something if it is trustworthy. Domainextensions that aren't trustworthy will be blacklisted and blocked all over the world and will be worthless. For this reason a new domainextension should include the following rules
A. Important financial and economic trademarks and their variants can only be used in a domainname if the owner agrees to it.
B. Domainnames which include specific names of organisations, schools and enterprises should have a logical link to its owner. Buying forgotten domainnames of organisations and schools to place advertising, spam and porno should be out of the question.
C. Generic domainnames should also have a generic purpose. This means that the names of cities, some generic words and professions should be available to those institutions and organisations that are responsable for them.
D. Fraud and abuse should be blocked immediately. Domains that are only bought to speculate or abuse should be taken out. Setting up a process which includes expensive mediation and trials makes only sense if the object of the dispute can be blocked if it is clear that this is necessary for the 'public good' and the 'good name' of the domainextension.
3. There is nothing more important than DNS
DNS is everything and without DNS there is nothing left of the internet as we know it. So as attacks against DNS infrastructure and the DNS protocol are increasing and becoming more complex, it is necessary that the organisation that is responsable for the management of the new domainname extension is also responsable for the security and quality of it.
This does not only mean that they have to support and manage their own DNS infrastructure but that part of their mission would be to educate and train ITpeople in DNS management and analyse and monitor the situation of the DNS servers in the region.
Because in the end. Nobody will care anymore how many domainnames you have in a world where every month new domainextensions will be launched. The difference will be in the security and the quality of your domainextension. It is like the discussion in the financial world between the risktakers that wanted each time to go higher and the traditional bankers that just wanted a good solvable bank on which you can trust. Better a strong fort in the sand than an enormous castle in the clouds.