.co is the ccTLD for Colombia and it is administered by Universidat de los Andes. However, on August 13, 2009, the Colombian Ministry of Communications granted the administration and promotion of the .co domain names for a 10 years period to .CO Internet S.A.S., a joint venture between Colombian company and NeuStar Inc.
The next phase will be the approvals from IANA, Department of Commerce of the United States and ICANN. Once granted, the Universidat de los Andes will transfer all the operations of this domain to .CO Internet S.A.S. However, this joint venture has to implement the new policies and adjust them to best practices known.
This .co is linked all over the world with the words company, corporation and commerce so that it can become the new online presence-branding tool for businesses, entrepreneurs or developers of every kind. Pre-registration for .co domain is already open, however, the launching schedule will consist of three stages:
1. The Global Sunrise – April 26, 2010: this is for trademark holders with equivalent domain names registered before July 30, 2008.
2. The Landrush – June 21 until July 13, 2010: this stage will be open for everybody interested in registering domain names of high commercial importance.
3. The General Availability – July 20, 2010: .co domain names will become available for anyone in the world.
Due to some limitations imposed by governing policies, there will be only 10 .co Accredited Registrars during first year of operation: Dotster, MelbourneIT, My.com.co, eNom, Register.com, 1&2, GoDaddy, InternetX, Tucows and Network Solutions. However, any other ICANN and non-ICANN registrars may join as resellers.
Prices for this domain will be decided by each of the 10 registrars, though they are supposed to be higher than other domain names due to the linking to business development opportunity. One of the 10 registrars already offers pre-registration, with prices from $299/year for Global Sunrise and Landrush stages to $29,99/year for General Availability stage.