Arrangements by which a ccTLD registry delegates most or all operational tasks to a third party are not uncommon. In many country this model arose out of necessity, as the ccTLD was delegated to an entity without the resources to offer domain name management on a large-scale.
Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), the registry for .bh, offers neither a client-facing interface nor does it work with registrars. A local operator called Batelco is effectively the only point of contact for .bh domain services. Domain registration is not offered as a stand-alone product, but rather is bundled with their hosting service.
See current registration form here.
Today, Communications Minister Kamal Ahmad announced that TSA would, “undertake all tasks related to the identification, registration and management” of .bh domain names. This applies both to second-level names, as well as the widely-used .com.bh.
The press release makes reference to a provision protecting current registrants, which appears to denote one year’s grace starting from the date on which the transition to TSA takes effect.
Minister Ahmad’s stated rationale made no reference to the current arrangement with Batelco, instead focusing on the benefit the transition to TRA management would have on the development of the Internet in Bahrain. It is not known to Toweb to what degree, if any, Batelco participated in the planning of this transition.
Toweb has not historically offered .bh, due primarily to a local presence requirement for which we have no trustee solution. We will monitor the transition to TRA in case it brings with it a liberalization of registration rules.