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Agreement Signed to Expand L-Root Servers Across Africa

18 October 2012… ICANN and the Africa Network Information Center (AFRINIC) have signed an agreement pledging to work collaboratively to identify additional potential locations for the expansion of L-Root anycast instances in Africa.

The placement of instances of root servers is important to the infrastructure of the Internet in Africa.

"This agreement comes in at a perfect time here in Toronto when ICANN has unveiled a new initiative to increase presence and participation across our region" said Adiel Akplogan, AFRINIC's Chief Executive Officer. "Besides policy related discussions and participation, Africa needs to strengthen the resiliency of its Internet Infrastructure in order to attract local contents investments."

"This very important agreement is a further reflection of the hard work of the Africa stakeholders and their spirit of engagement" said Fadi Chehadé, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN. "Our commitment to this sort of cooperative effort is framed by the initiative of the Africa Support Working Group, which is aimed at increasing African participation in ICANN."

The Africa Support Working Group presented its three year initiative during ICANN's 45th public meeting in Toronto, Canada. The agreement between AfriNIC and ICANN marks the first implementation of the Africa Strategy.

Under the signed agreement, AFRINIC is willing to help ICANN strengthen the resilience of the DNS further by helping to identify potential additional physical locations that host L-Root.

Using geographically diverse locations for name servers strengthens the global Internet because a dispersed system cannot be taken offline by a problem at any single instance of a given DNS root server.

"L-Root" refers to one of thirteen computers that anchor the globe's Domain Name Service (DNS). Where computers locate one another on a network by numeric address, humans find it easier to use and remember names (for instance, users typically remember "" more easily than its IP address, 2620:0:2d0:200::7.) The Domain Name System matches domain names with their correct numeric addresses on the Internet.

Agreement Signed by ICANN and the Africa Network Information Center (AFRINIC) to Expand L-Root Servers Across Africa

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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."