ICANN – new domain
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved a new domain name process — the Fast Track Process — to allow for non-Latin characters, media reported Monday.
The ICANN, an organization responsible for managing the assignment of domain names and IP addresses, will allow countries and territories to apply for domain names in their native language, according to the Fast Track Process that will launch on Nov. 16.
Web addresses will now be able to be expressed in about 16 other alphabets or scripts, including simplified and traditional Chinese characters, Russian Cyrillic, Korean Hangul and Hebrew. Dozens of other alphabets are likely to be added in coming years.
“The coming introduction of non-Latin characters represents the biggest technical change to the Internet since it was created four decades ago,” ICANN chairman Peter Dengate Thrush said in a statement. “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.”
But the change for at least a year or so will only apply to country-code top level domains — those with endings like .us or .cn, for United States, China, respectively — that are controlled by governments. Those domains account for about 40 perecent of all Web sites around the world.
The rest are generic top level domains, with endings like .com, .org or .net. Access to those domains is obtained commercially and ICANN is still developing rules for how multiple-language names will be distributed to them.
Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s President and CEO, speculated that the move could bring billions of more people online — people who have never used Roman characters in their daily lives, he said.
The effort has been in the works for years, ICANN said, but organizers had to get around technical issues, policy development, and global cooperation.