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Type: Non-profit organization
Industry: Registry, Internet
Founded: 1997
Headquarters: AFNIC, Immeuble Le Stephenson,
78180 Saint Quentin en Yvelines, FR
Country: France
Employees: 80 (2015)
Revenue: Euros 13 million (2012)
Facebook: AFNIC
LinkedIn: AFNIC
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@AFNIC
Key People
Pierre Bonis, Chief Executive Officer
Sylvie Lacep, Excellence and Security Director
Régis Massé, Technical Director
Emilie Turbat, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer

AFNIC (Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, previously NIC-France) is a non-profit organization that administers the TLD registry for France (.fr) and its overseas territories. It was established in 1997 jointly by the INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control of France) and the Government of France, represented by the Ministries of Telecommunications, Industries and Research. [1]


1986-1997: NIC-France From 1986 to 1997, INRIA was responsible for the management of .fr (ccTLD ISO code 3166) on behalf of the Standard Research Institute’s Network Information Centre (SRI-NIC) and INTERNIC. Until 1992, INRIA also managed Fnet (also called the INRIA network), which was, at the time, the only ISP in France. As demand increased, INRIA opened up for everyone in France who wanted internet connectivity. With the appearance of new network service providers, a Consultative Committee (CC-NIC) was setup in 1994 comprising of representatives each from the INRIA and the service providers. Many service providers joined the consultative committee and provided funds to NIC-France. Intellectual property issues were considered for the first time by setting rules for assigning names under the .fr domain. November 1995, NIC-France stopped the service of allocating IP addresses.

Post-1998: AFNIC On January 1, 1998, AFNIC was created and is governed by the French law of July 1, 1901 (voluntary association). It took over from INRIA with an intention of providing flexible management structure and wide support to its members, which was not possible to achieve by a research institute. [2]

2012 - AFNIC released a study showing that .fr had double the rate of growth of the average ccTLD, with a 15% growth compared with 7% across all other ccTLDs. [3]

Tasks and Services

AFNIC follows three main missions

Technical mission: AFNIC is responsible for managing France's TLDs and assigning responsibility of these to service providers of the French national territory.

Currently AFNIC handles the following ccTLDs:

  • .fr - France
  • .re - Reunion Island
  • .tf - French Southern Territories
  • .yt - Mayotte
  • .pm - Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
  • .wf - Wallis and Futuna Islands

It also ensures accessibility of these domains from any point on the internet and is responsible for maintaining databases for these domains. It serves with a mission of contributing to the digital economic development of France by developing and providing services for ISPs.

General Interest mission: AFNIC ensures the presence of French national territory on the internet and provides resources to national public institutions for registry services and support services for French digital economic development.

Scientific mission: AFNIC has the responsibility of forecasting internet evolutions and extending cooperation with other countries on the matters of domain name industry and research.[4]

Dispute Resolution

In November, 2011, AFNIC introduced a new dispute resolution system, Syreli. The new system was designed for speedy resolution of disputes, allowing a judgement to be rendered in two months.[5] The first case was successfully rendered in January, 2012, and it was fully processed in less than a month.[6] Claimants may also utilize the PARL EXPERT dispute resolution rules for domain transfers, via WIPO proceedings or through the French courts.[7] PARL EXPERT is comparable to the UDRP.[8]


AFNIC's members come from both the public and private sectors, and are often responsible for the use and development of the Internet. Members include the founders (INRIA and the French government), who are public authoritative representatives, as well as legal entities (companies, organizations, plants) and individuals, domain name registrars, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and international entities. In addition, there are honorary members who are awarded membership by the Board of Directors for providing services to the association.[9]

International Cooperation

AFNIC is majorly involved in international relations and works on three main guidelines:

  1. Participate and contribute in global internet management and governance in association with ICANN, CENTR, WSIS and so on.
  2. Introduce new services and standards like IETF, RIPE, RIPE NCC.
  3. Educate others with its knowledge and expertise of the field.[10]


AFNIC is one of the co-founders of CENTR. Through it, AFNIC tries to promote the importance of Internet-related intellectual property rights and actively participates in its proceedings to improve operational exchanges between ccTLDs, particularly those based in Europe.[11]


AFNIC vows to participate actively in the coordination of Internet-related activities at a global level. In this effort, AFNIC provides support in the creation of the ccNSO, an ICANN organization that handles issues related to ccTLDs from a global perspective [12]. AFNIC provided technical support to the DNSO, ICANN’s domain name supporting organization, until July 2003. AFNIC also provides support to ICANN’s working groups, to improve naming quality, operational exchanges between ccTLD registries, and internet stability.[13]


AFNIC is a sponsor of ISOC's Next Generation Leaders Programme, which is an academic program, launched in 2010 in conjunction with the DiploFoundation, intended to further the skills of promising Internet professionals and individuals working in Internet governance.[14]


In January 2012, the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE) made a grant of €400,000 to AFNIC's International College Fund in order to support applications to ICANN's new gTLD program involving countries in sub-Saharan Africa.[15]

Research and Development

In accordance with the scientific mission, AFNIC tries to make improvements related to internet use and services. It conducts various experiments on its own or as requested by French authorities or international partners.[16]

It has worked on various projects such as:

  • DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions)[17]
  • Internet of Things (IOT), where different objects communicate directly or indirectly with devices that connect to the internet and the Object Naming Service (ONS), which is a standard that enables EPCs (Electronic Product Codes) present in RFID tags to be linked to the internet.[18]
  • ENUM (tElephone NUmber Mapping), a method of converting a telephone number into an internet domain name by querying a Domain Name Server (DNS).[19]
  • IPv6, the latest version of Internet Protocol.[20]
  • Generic NIC, a website with an objective of providing help with the formation or reorganization of bodies managing the internet Top Level Domain. [21]

New gTLDs

16 French New gTLD applicants chose AFNIC to be their backend provider.[22]

Other News

On December, 6, 2011, AFNIC began offering .wf (Wallis and Futuna), .tf (Southern and Antarctic), .re (Reunion Island), .pm (St. Pierre and Miquelon), and .yt (Mayotte) under the same registration policies as .fr.[23]