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Pre-Delegation Testing Services for the New gTLD Program - Selection of Provider

ICANN is pleased to announce that it has selected Stiftelsen för Internetinfrastruktur (.SE) as the provider of Pre-Delegation Testing services for the new gTLD Program. The provider is the registry operator for the .se ccTLD (Sweden) with a long and proven track of technical capability, operations excellence, and significant experience in the industry.

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 (AGB). 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. The Pre-Delegation Testing process is described in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook [PDF, 5.88 MB], Section 5.2.

About Stiftelsen för Internetinfrastruktur (.SE): The Internet Infrastructure Foundation (.SE) is an independent organization for the benefit of the public that acts to promote the positive development of the Internet in Sweden. .SE is responsible for the Internet's Swedish top-level domain, .se, encompassing domain name registration, and the administration and technical operation of the national domain name registry. Proceeds from domain name registrations are used to finance initiatives that promote the development of the Internet in Sweden, through proprietary operations and the financing of independent projects.

The service provider was selected out of a process of consideration in accordance with the Request for Proposals issued on 30 October 2012. Requirements for candidate service providers included: a demonstrated understanding of the critical registry functions (i.e., DNS, DNSSEC, EPP, Whois, Data escrow), operational experience necessary to deliver the testing services, ability to scale up on request, and experience designing, building, and operating robust and secure systems. ICANN received competitive proposals from several qualified firms, and is pleased to select .SE as the Pre-Delegation Testing provider for the new gTLD program.

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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."