ICANN Approves International Domains

    October 30, 2009

The first Internet addresses with non-Latin characters will soon be online after today’s approval of the new Internationalized Domain Name Fast Track Process by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

"The coming introduction of non-Latin characters represents the biggest technical change to the Internet since it was created four decades ago," said ICANN chairman Peter Dengate Thrush.

"Right now Internet address endings are limited to Latin characters – A to Z. But the Fast Track Process is the first step in bringing the 100,000 characters of the languages of the world online for domain names."

ICANN said starting November 16 nations and territories will be able to apply for internationalized domain names (IDNs) made up of characters from their national language.

"This is only the first step, but it is an incredibly big one and an historic move toward the internationalization of the Internet," said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s President and CEO.

"The first countries that participate will not only be providing valuable information of the operation of IDNs in the domain name system, they are also going to help to bring the first of billions more people online – people who never use Roman characters in their daily lives."

IDNs have been an issue since before ICANN was created. ICANN said its taken years of technical testing, policy development, and global co-operation to prepare for the launch of the Fast Track process.

"Our work on IDNs has gone through numerous drafts, dozens of tests, and an incredible amount of development by volunteers since we started this project. Today is the first step in moving from planning and implementation to the real launch," said Tina Dam, ICANN’s Senior Director for IDNs.

"The launch of the Fast Track Process will be an amazing change to make the Internet an even more valuable tool, and for even more people around the globe."


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