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ICANN Names Back-up Registry Operators for New gTLDs

Marking another milestone in the implementation of the community-developed New gTLD Program, ICANN today announced the selection of three geographically diverse emergency back-end registry operators, or EBEROs. The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), Neustar, Inc. and Nominet were selected to guarantee domain names within a new gTLD continue to resolve in the event of a failure by a new TLD operator.

Emergency back-end registry operators are activated only if a registry operator fails to provide or is unable to sustain five critical registry functions temporarily or in the case of transition from one registry operator to another. Having them in different regions of the world reduces the chance that a natural disaster would affect all three at any one time.

EBEROs mitigate risk that a failed new TLD operator could impact the stability and security of the Domain Name System. However, EBEROs are limited in the services they can provide. For example, EBEROs will maintain critical registry functions but will not provide any additional services that a TLD operator may have offered its customers, such as web hosting or network analytics. The critical functions covered by EBEROs are:

  1. DNS resolution for registered domain names
  2. Operation of Shared Registration System
  3. Provision of Whois service
  4. Registry data escrow deposits
  5. Maintenance of a properly signed zone in accordance with DNSSEC requirements

The three selected organizations met stringent technical requirements and demonstrated years of experience in operating domain name services, registration data directory services and extensible provisioning protocol services.

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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."