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IDN Variant TLD Program - Revised Program Plan

Forum Announcement: Comment Period Opens on Date: 4 May 2012
Categories/Tags: Top-Level Domains
Purpose (Brief): The purpose of this project is to resolve many of the issues necessary to delegate variant TLDs. The first IDN Variant Issues Project explored the issues associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone, at the request of the ICANN Board and the community. The first two phases of the project have been completed with the publication of the final Integrated Issues Report on 20 February 2012 and the project is now entering its next phase. ICANN created a program plan for next steps, posted it for public comment, and presented it in a session at the ICANN meeting in Costa Rica in March 2012. Based on the comments received to date, the project plan has been updated, and the team is seeking input on the revised plan during this public comment period.
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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."