OPINION: It's vital for websites to be live in times of crisis like lockdown
The current lockdown due to the rampant Covid19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the livelihoods of billions of people.
Since the pandemic can be curbed by staying at home, the value of solid and reliable Internet has been brought into the spotlight.
Access to fast, reliable and uninterrupted connectivity makes it possible to share updates on the measures to control the spread of Covid-19.
It also enables the sharing of critical information easier, helping learners to continue studying at home while schools are closed.
Many publishers and providers of learning content have made their books freely downloadable while mobile network operators and broadcasting corporations are offering many special packages to facilitate productive living and working during the lockdown.
In light of this, how then can the ZA Central Registry (ZACR) play a constructive role in helping during this pandemic? The brief answer is: by keeping every website live during the lockdown.
This is more critical because the now suspended minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has called on all Internet sites within .zaDNA top level domain to feature a visible link to www.sacoronavirus.co.za.
All licencees must provide zero-rated access to local educational content websites and audio-visual services ought to increase programming aimed at supporting COVID-19 awareness.
ZACR is a non-profit company responsible for the administration of the entire .za presence on the world wide web.
For the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown, ZACR has decided to forthwith suspend deletions of domain names that are not in good standing with the Registry.
This means that all “co.za”, “net.za”, “web.za” or “org.za” domains will not be deleted from the ZACR’s central domain name Registry for non-payment of annual renewal fees until the next round of scheduled deletions planned for 24 April 2020.
ZACR is the custodian of different .za second level domains, such as co.za, net.za, org.za and web.za as well as .africa; making ZACR the curator of well over 1,000,000 domain names.
The damage caused by deletions in times of crisis can be dire
We all have to play our part in beating Covid-19, which threatens our very existence. The Internet has emerged as a vital tool in helping so many people sustain their livelihoods, continue to connect with each other and pursue a myriad of online educational and recreational pursuits.
We are, therefore, offering .ZA domain name owners who are in arrears a respite by suspending our monthly deletions schedule.
This should ensure the stability of the Internet, making it easier for individuals, companies and many organisations to continue to observe the lockdown stay home and be safe without any worrying about being disconnected.
That way, they can Skype, communicate via video conference or hold Zoom meetings, follow updates on social media and stream broadcast services. We shall overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lucky Masilela is the CEO of ZACR.