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Removal of Eleven Test Internationalized Top-Level Domains from the Root Zone

ICANN is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the testing period for internationalized top-level domains (IDNs) in the DNS root zone.

On 9 October 2007, ICANN inserted into the DNS root zone eleven internationalized domain names (IDNs) of the word "test" written in nine scripts representing ten different languages. The purpose of these domains was to identify potential adverse impacts on root zone operations caused by the use of IDNs as top-level domains (TLDs) prior to the production deployment of IDN TLDs. To test the domains, ICANN set up websites as various translations of "example.test" under the 11 test top-level domains. These websites allowed Internet users to create subpages to be used for testing and discussion on any issues encountered when accessing a whole domain name written in the characters of one of the designated languages.

Following a positive evaluation of the test IDN TLDs, ICANN launched in November 2009 the IDN Country Code Fast Track Process that enables qualified countries and territories to apply for production IDN TLDs. To date, 35 IDN ccTLDs (representing 25 countries and territories) have been delegated in the DNS root zone.

As a result of the successful testing and several years of production experience, there is no longer a need to have the test IDN TLDs delegated in the DNS root zone. This announcement serves as a notice to the community that the test IDN TLDs will be retired from the DNS root zone on 31 October 2013 in accordance with the ICANN Board approved procedure, Procedures for Test IDN Deployment.

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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."