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ICANN's gTLD Registry Failover Plan

Following extensive collaboration and consultation with experienced gTLD registries, ccTLD managers, SSAC, and other members of the community, ICANN announced the implementable version of the gTLD Registry Failover Plan [PDF, 85K] during the ICANN Public Forum in Paris, France on 25 June 2008. ICANN is today posting the plan for public comment. Comments on the plan may be submitted to through 14 August 2008 23:59 UTC and may be viewed at

ICANN's gTLD Registry Failover Plan is intended to provide protection for registrants, and add to the security and stability of the Internet through collaboration with registries, registrars and members of the Internet community.

The plan provides a comprehensive guide describing potential ICANN actions in specific situations involving a registry and is intended to define the roles of registries and ICANN in the event of registry failure. The plan includes provisions for: information sharing, situation handling and event management, crisis response, communications, business continuity, data escrow and data security, TLD and data transition and registry closure.

Going forward, ICANN's FY09 Operating Plan states that a key deliverable during FY09 is to "implement [the gTLD] registry failover plan including live testing with a registry or registries."

At the conclusion of the comment period, ICANN will move into the implementation and testing phase of the project, and will work with experienced registries, registrars and others to exercise the plan in Fiscal Year 2008-09.

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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."