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Top-Level Domains, Internationalized Domain Names, and Address Space Discussions Make Progress in San Juan | Refinement of policies means new domain names on track for mid-2008, possible live evaluation of IDNs

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico: Real progress has been demonstrated in key discussions at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers 29th International Public Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“One of the real highlights of the San Juan meeting was the dialogue around issues that will impact the future of the Internet – especially new generic top-level domains and internationalized domain names,” said Dr Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN.

“With the progress we have made in San Juan, we’re on track for the new applications and approvals policy to be ready for the start of 2008, and the introduction of new TLDs by mid-year.”

ICANN has overseen two earlier extensions of the Internet space: the addition of seven TLDs, including .info and .name in 2000, and the addition of another six in a process that began in 2004.

”On IDNs, we heard that the technical community has made real progress. If all things go well, we will see IDNs evaluated live in the root by November this year. This is great news for the international community,” Dr Twomey said.

“Another area that is crucial to the expansion of the Internet is the amount of address space available. IPv4 address space is projected to be fully distributed in just a few years. It is vital that people understand that future growth of the Internet depends on the people deploying and investing in IPv6,” said Dr Vint Cerf, Chair of ICANN.

There were more than 1,000 participants from more than 115 countries at the San Juan meeting, the second of the three public ICANN meetings this year. It is a key component of the organization’s bottom-up, transparent process to involve all Internet Community stakeholders in policy development.

Other highlights of the meeting included:

  • A public forum on the draft set of Frameworks and Principles for accountability and transparency.
  • The debut of an enhanced public participation website, and new global maps of ICANN related information.
  • Discussions around ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreements (RAA), the Accreditation process and the data escrow process.
  • The signing of the fifth Regional At Large Organization agreement – this one with the North American region – to provide global Internet users increased and official opportunities for input with ICANN. It means that the entire global at-large structure is now in place. The first of these structures was only set up in December 2006 so the progress in providing access to ICANN discussions for Internet users has been a high priority.

San Juan also marked the end of the term of Alejandro Pisanty of Mexico, who has served on the ICANN board since 1999. During that time he has served as Vice-Chair, led the Evolution and Reform Committee which transformed ICANN in 2000-2003, was the first chair of the Board Governance Committee, and co-chair of the Board-GAC Joint Working Group

“Alejandro has had a lasting impact on ICANN and the Internet over the past eight years thanks to his dedication, his efforts, and his ideas,” Dr Cerf added. “We will miss his official presence on the board, but he will remain active in many technical and Internet Governance forums for years to come.”

ICANN’s next meeting – which is also the Annual General Meeting for 2007 – will be held 29 October through 2 November in Los Angeles, California. Details will be posted at: http://icann.org/meetings in the near future.

About ICANN:

ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the Internet. Careful management of these resources is vital to the Internet's operation, so ICANN's global stakeholders meet regularly to develop policies that ensure the Internet's ongoing security and stability. ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit company. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.

Media Contacts:

Jason Keenan
Media Adviser, ICANN (USA)
Ph: +1 310 382 4004
E: jason.keenan@icann.org

International: Andrew Robertson
Edelman (London)
Ph: +44 7921 588 770
E: andrew.robertson@edelman.com


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Domain Name System
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."