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New gTLD Pre-Delegation Testing Provider – Upcoming Request for Proposals

ICANN is planning to issue a Request for Proposals to identify a provider for the Pre-Delegation testing that is specified in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook. The set of tests to be performed are specified at a high level in section 5.2. A detailed requirements document is being developed and will be included in the Request for Proposals that is planned for publication by the end of October 2012.

Interested parties are invited to read and familiarize themselves with section 5.2 of the gTLD Applicant Guidebook in preparation for the upcoming Request for Proposals. It is expected that there will be a relatively short tender period. The selected provider will be required to be ready to operate by the end of March 2013.

Interested parties can pre-register to the process by sending an email to <> until the RFP is published. Pre-registered parties will receive direct updates on the process and the RFP once is ready.

The purpose of the Pre-Delegation Testing is to verify that the applicant has met its commitment to establish registry operations in accordance with the technical and operational criteria described in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook. Each applicant will be required to complete Pre-Delegation Testing as a prerequisite to delegation into the root zone.

The test elements cover both DNS server infrastructure and registry system operations. In many cases the applicant will perform the test elements as instructed and provide documentation of the results to ICANN to demonstrate satisfactory performance. At ICANN's discretion, aspects of the applicant's self-certification documentation can be audited either on-site at the services delivery point of the registry or elsewhere as determined by ICANN.

The Pre-Delegation Testing provider Request for Proposals is planned for publication by the end of October 2012

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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."