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Fast Track Receives Over 50 Responses

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Following the recommendation from the IDNC WG Final report, ICANN sent letters to all countries and territories requesting information about their interest in participating in the Fast Track process. A sample letter is available at http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-02oct08-en.htm

The request for information included a brief questionnaire intended to ascertain interest in the Fast Track Process.

While ICANN is still receiving responses, the following data is being made available to help the continued discussions in the community, and to inform the draft Implementation Plan for IDN ccTLDs, and make it available for use for the countries and territories.

Total number of letters to national governments: 252

Total number of letters to ccTLD operators: 252

Total number of received responses: 58

Number of received responses stating an interested in obtaining an IDN ccTLD during the fast-track process: 32

A total of 30 respondents specified one or more IDN ccTLD labels and 10 respondents at this stage did not yet specify the IDN ccTLD label(s). Some of the respondents that specified the IDN ccTLD label(s) also specified that they had no interest in participating in the Fast Track process. A reason for not participating may be that these respondents are not eligible to participate in the fast track process because the IDN ccTLD they are interested in is based on characters from the Latin script.

A total of 14 languages are anticipated to be represented initially through the IDN ccTLD fast Track process.

The responses estimate the earliest availability for launching an IDN ccTLD within 3 months and the latest being available per the end of 2010.

ICANN will provide updates to the statistics listed above as additional responses are being received. The data above is based on responses received per 1 November 2008.

For more details about the IDN ccTLD fast Track Process, please see: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track/

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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."