Back in October, we covered the transition of .bh from the management of a Bahraini telecommunications company to that of TRA, a government entity (see here). The timeframe for the relaunch of the TLD was unclear at the time, but recent events suggest that the new registry will soon be up and running.
Two days ago, TRA held an event for Middle Eastern providers of domain name services. Participants were briefed on how the .bh registry/registrar model will work and were given a demonstration of the new registry platform.
Outreach to prospective registrars is not limited to this event. TRA is actively encouraging companies interested in reselling .bh to contact their offices at a dedicated phone line and e-mail address.
In addition to the new distribution channel, TRA has also taken steps to add a new domain to its offering. The agency has petitioned ICANN to create .البحرين, the Arabic equivalent of .bh. The string was subject to the Fast Track evaluation process and the ICANN website gives a status of “pending delegation.” TRA is saying that it will be available when the new platform launches.
There’s still no word on whether the local presence requirement will be maintained once the new registry/registrar model is implemented. Our bet is that it will not, considering that this model is generally associated with automated, higher-volume TLDs. Considering the small size of Bahrain, the initiatives described in this article would seem unnecessary were the TLD to remain restricted to local entities.
According to press releases, the launch will take place in Q3 2019, or between July and September. We’ll include a note once the date and restrictions are confirmed. It’s not often that ccTLDs are “reborn,” so there will be plenty of eyes on .bh in the coming months.