OpenNIC is an alternate network information center/alternative DNS root which lists itself as an alternative to ICANN and its registries.
As of 2006 users of the OpenNIC DNS servers are able to resolve all existing ICANN top-level domains as well as their own.
Like all alternative root DNS systems, OpenNIC-hosted domains are unreachable to the vast majority of the Internet. Only specific configuration in one's DNS resolver makes these reachable, and very few Internet service providers have this configuration.
On June 1, 2000, an article was posted on kuro5hin.org advocating a democratically governed domain name system. By the end of July, OpenNIC root servers were operating and several top-level domains had been introduced as well as peering of the AlterNIC namespace. In March 2001 peering began of Pacific Root and in September a search engine was announced which was dedicated to the OpenNIC namespace.
OpenNIC restructured its architecture to improve scalability and avoid single-point-of-failure issues. Each TLD has its own policies regarding acceptable use. New TLDs may be created subject to OpenNIC stated policies.