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Request for Proposal: Study About the Domain Name System (DNS) Industry and Business in Africa

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is seeking a provider to conduct a study on the domain name industry in Africa.

The goal of this study is to identify and define the strengths and weaknesses in the industry ecosystem within the region and develop recommendations on how to advance the industry and bring it closer to the opportunities available.

The ICANN's Africa Strategic Plan, reviewed in 2014, defined four key areas of interest as strategic focus for the region. Two of those, namely Capacity Building and Outreach and Economic Concerns consider the different areas and opportunities available to further develop the domain name industry in Africa.

The study at a minimum will:

  • Investigate the current state of the Internet and the domain name industry in the region
  • Define best practices that have made an impact in domain name market growth
  • Look at the broader ecosystem of the Internet infrastructure and online services and describe the impact of such elements on the overall evolution of the domain name industry
  • Describe the business potential in the domain name industry in Africa, and
  • Provide suggestions on how to develop the industry and what business models can be adopted in the entire industry chain.

The study will include data, analysis, and recommendations.

The final report of the study is to be delivered no later than 17th June 2016. An intermediary report should be provided in April 2016.

For additional information and instructions for submitting responses please click here.

Proposals should be submitted to AfricaDNSStudy-rfp@icann.org by 23:59 UTC on 4 January 2016.


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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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."