The latest news I have heard about the growth of the Internet has me worried. In the face of a potential shortage of domain names, including popular top-level domains such as .com, steps are being taken to create new ones to alleviate the situation. However, a lack of unity among key players may mean confusion and problems with the movement of data on the Internet. A group which refers to itself as the International Ad Hoc Committee recently proposed creating new top-level domains ranging from .web to .store to .nom for individuals. The committee also suggests the authorisation of new registries to administer domain names. Right now domains such as .org and .edu are administered by InterNIC in the United States and most national domains such as .hk and .cn are administered by an appointed national body. Under the new plan, at least the non-national top level domains - including the new ones - would be handled by multiple registries. At first glance - from the user's point of view - it all sounds like good news. I have more choices of top-level domain to get the name I want and more organisations to choose from to register my domain. Nothing could be simpler. Or could it? All this means potential problems because Internet service providers have to support the changes for them to take hold and be effective. Even with support from the likes of MCI, the proposals face opposition from groups such as PSINet which threatens to ignore new domains. As an Internet user, I have the potential to communicate with anyone and find information anywhere on the network. Why? Because it is still a unified network - despite its lack of management and its chaotic nature. Now the very unity of the Net at a technical level is being threatened. If PSINet were ever to follow through with a threat like this, the very source of the Net's widespread popularity and success would be undermined, perhaps seriously enough to spell the start of the end of the global computer network. Of course, there may be too much at risk for PSINet to do this, and it could be all talk. I, for one, hope this is the case.