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Update Regarding .NET Selection Process

Introduction

The following is an update on the status of the process currently underway for the selection of a successor operator for the .NET registry.

Status

The Request for Proposals was posted on 10 December 2004. An open question period for applicants was conducted through 7 January 2005. On 20 January 2005, ICANN announced the receipt of five applications, from Aflilias, CORE++, DENIC, Sentan, and VeriSign.

On 7 February 2005, ICANN announced that Telcordia Technologies, Inc. had been retained to conduct the independent evaluation of the applications. Telcordia has been advised in its work by an international team of DNS experts assembled by ICANN. In association with the announcement of Telcordia, ICANN also posted an "Advisory Regarding Neutrality of Independent Evaluators", which has also been reviewed with each of the applicants.

Telcordia has been conducting scoring and evaluation activities since its appointment, and has now completed its preliminary written report noting substantive comments and questions on each applicant. Telcordia is also conducting site visits at each of the applicants’ facilities. As provided in the RFP process, the preliminary written report on each applicant will be provided to that applicant only (as soon as the site visits are concluded), and each applicant will be allowed to respond to the report in writing.

The evaluators' final report and rankings are scheduled to be posted on the ICANN website on 28 March 2005. The Internet community will be invited to review the report and submit comments. ICANN will promptly enter negotiations with the top-ranked applicant to reach a mutually acceptable registry agreement. ICANN's proposed form of the registry agreement has been posted on the ICANN website <http://www.icann.org/tlds/dotnet-reassignment/draft-net-agreement-9mar05.pdf>.

For additional information concerning the .NET selection process, please see <http://www.icann.org/tlds/dotnet-reassignment/dotnet-general.htm>.


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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."