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ICANN Launches New Initiatives to Steward a Stable Global Internet

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (23 July 2004) – ICANN wrapped up its week-long meetings in KL during which the world-wide Internet community moved forward on a number of significant new initiatives directed at further stewarding a stable global Internet. The meeting was attended by more than 780 participants from over 78 countries from all regions of the world.

These new initiatives and developments include:

  • implementation of next-generation IPv6 technology, enabling trillions more addresses to support the continuing growth of the global Internet
  • acknowledgement of AfriNIC, the emerging African regional Internet address registry, and its request for commencement of an ICANN recognition process - a historical event in local control of African Internet resources
  • creation of an advisory group to engage the global Internet community in the use of Internationalised Domain Names (also referred to as "IDNs") within the domain name system to further Internet growth in new languages and regions of the world
  • the inaugural meeting of the Country Code Name Supporting Organization Council (ccNSO), ICANN's policy coordinating body for the world's country-code TLD's (top-level domain) communities
  • reaching out to other Internet bodies to establish directives on the use of “Wildcards” in the domain name system
  • recognition of ICANN’s successful completion of milestones under the MOU with the United States’ Department of Commerce toward full independent oversight of the ICANN Functions under its global structure and with its global community

ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit responsible for coordinating the ICANN Functions, which include Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions.


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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."