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Comments Sought on New TLD Initial Report

The GNSO Council's Committee on the introduction of new top level domains has released its Initial Report as part of ICANN's policy development process. This Report is the product of a long series of consultations and meetings about the Terms of Reference .

The GNSO Council's new TLD Committee will meet again in Amsterdam between 29 & 31 August 2006 to consider any further public comments and inputs from ICANN's Advisory Committees and Supporting Organisations before preparing a Final Report for submission to the ICANN Board prior to the Sao Paolo meeting in early December 2006.

A public comment period is now open until Friday 18 August 2006 and members of the community are asked to respond specifically to the following questions upon which further discussion is needed.

1. After reading the Initial Report, are there any other selection criteria which may be helpful for a new top level domain application round?

2. Thinking about the issue of application fees for any new top level domain application, is there merit in graduated application fees to assist applicants?

3. Taking into account the experiences from the 2000 and 2004 round of new top level domains, do you have further comments to make about streamlining the application process?

4. Thinking about ICANN's responsibility to ensure competition in registry services operation, do you have any additional comments about how to encourage applications which would serve needs which are not met by the existing top level domains?

5. Looking closely at the technical selection criteria section of the Report, are there any further comments which would assist with identifying appropriate base line technical criteria for new applications?

6. Do you have any further comment to make on the use of the first come first served system for processing applications and then whether auctions or lotteries are appropriate ways of resolving competition between applications?

7. Do you have any further views on the kinds of new TLDs that might be encouraged? Specifically, do members of the community expect the existing differentiation between sponsored, generic, chartered and open TLDs to remain?

Comments can be submitted via this web form, or by sending email to newgtlds-comments@icann.org. Comments will be viewable at http://forum.icann.org/lists/newgtlds-comments.

Further questions about any aspect of the /Initial Report /or the policy development process can be addressed to Dr Liz Williams, Senior Policy Counselor, at newgtlds-questions@icann.org.


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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."