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ICANN initiated an application process to select a group of 5 international registrars to open up Phase 1 of the implementation of the SRS. They were:
Register.com was the first registrar to come online, on June 7th, 1999.
The testbed period was originally scheduled to last until June 24th, 1999; but was extended multiple times due to technical difficulties; it officially ended on November, 30th, 1999. 29 additional post-testbed registrars were selected on 21 April, with others being accredited each month thereafter; by the end of the year there were 98 total.