How it all Started: The Birth of .de and the Founding of the Cooperative
1986: .de Is Born
The history of .de started more than 30 years ago on 5 November 1986 when the country code .de was registered in the IANA database. This was the starting signal for the Internet in Germany. Initially, .de was administered by the US-American network operator CSNET. In 1988, administration was transferred to IRB, a unit of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Dortmund, which started to operate the name server service and the allocation of IPv4 address blocks. The common term used internationally for this kind of service provider was "Network Information Center", or NIC in short. And since this NIC took over the administration of .de, the name DENIC was born. At that time, no more than six domains (dbp.de. rmi.de, telenet.de, uka.de, uni-dortmund.de, uni-paderborn.de) were registered under .de.
In the beginning, the administration of the domains was handled on an "on-call" basis by means of a manually updated list, which soon started to grow at a quickening pace. This called for a more professional foundation: In August 1993, the three then existing German Internet service providers (DFN, EUNET und Xlink) founded the association "Interessenverbund Deutsches Network Information Center (IV-DENIC)". This interest group then invited tenders, on a national level, for the operation of the name server service. The winner of the tender process was the data center of the University of Karlsruhe. Starting from January 1994, it took over the administration and registration of the .de domains for an initial period of three years. At that time, the number of domains had reached a total of about 1,000. By mid-1996, the number climbed to 20,000. The number of providers and Internet users also continued to increase constantly.
1996: The Starting Date of the DENIC Cooperative
In December 1996, an assembly of 37 German Internet service providers decided to found a cooperative for the purpose of administering the German domains and providing the necessary infrastructure. This was the birth of DENIC eG. In July 1997, DENIC set up its head office in Frankfurt am Main, which has been the central hub of the Cooperative ever since.