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Proposed Final Implementation Plan: IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process

ICANN is pleased to announce the public posting of the Proposed Final Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process [PDF, 897K].

The IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process is an important step at making the Internet equally accessible for everyone. It will enable the introduction of a limited number of internationalized country-code top level domain names (IDN ccTLDs). Once implemented, this will be the first time that users can obtain a domain name with the entire string in characters based on their native language. The process will be available to all countries and territories where the official language is based on scripts other than the Latin (extended) script.

The proposed final plan is scheduled for ICANN Board consideration at the ICANN meeting in Seoul, Korea, 26-30 October 2009.

The proposed launch date for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process is 16 November 2009.

ICANN is looking forward to feedback on the proposed final plan in the public comment forum designated for that purpose.

The proposed final plan has been developed based on responses to community comments and discussions. See the latest status update at:

As noted there are a number of outstanding topics that has been discussed in public comment on implementation proposals of the Fast Track Process since the initial version of the Draft Implementation Plan was released on 23 October 2008. These include: (i) the form of relationship between an IDN ccTLD manager and ICANN, (ii) cost considerations regarding contribution to processing and TLD support costs, (iii) management of variant TLDs.

Solutions to these issues have been discussed, and while current opinions or positions of each community segment is well understood, it is believed that additional discussions on these topics will not facilitate further community agreement on these topics. In order to avoid delay to the launch of the Fast Track Process and its associated benefits these topics have been provided for ICANN Board consideration.

The Fast Track Process is a mechanism to introduce a limited number of non-contentious internationalized country-code top level domain names (IDN ccTLDs).

The initial version and three subsequent revisions of the implementation of the Fast Track Process were discussed at several meetings and online. That community input resolved a number of issues.

As a result of the progress on the implementation effort, at the recent ICANN meeting in Mexico, Mexico City, the Board encouraged the community to "…continue its work so that the implementation plan can be finalized and considered by the Board no later than at its annual meeting in 2009".

The release of the Proposed Final Implementation Plan is an effort to meet the goal set out in the ICANN Board resolution aimed at enabling positive consideration by the ICANN Board at their meeting in Seoul, Korea (30 October 2009), followed by launch of the process.

The papers listed below are proposed only. Potential IDN ccTLD requestors should not rely on any of the proposed details as they remain subject to further consultation and revision.

Please also note that it is expected there will be several updates to this announcement, as papers are released, finalized and translated.

Related links:

Proposed Final Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process [PDF, 897K]

Public comment period for IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process:

Staff considerations on received comments: (done)

IDNC Working Group Final Report (with public comments):
[PDF, 269K]

IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process webpage:

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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"""" is not an IDN."