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Subsequent New gTLD Program Activities under Consideration – Initial Work Plan Published

ICANN today published a draft Work Plan to describe the set of community reviews and activities underway and planned to support consideration of an additional application process for the next round of generic top-level domain (gTLD) names under the New gTLD Program.

Download the Draft Work Plan [PDF, 397 KB]

The New gTLD Program is enabling the largest-ever expansion of the domain name system. It is designed to enable increased opportunity, diversity, and innovation at the top level of the Domain Name System (DNS).

"We are very pleased with the initial results of the current round of gTLDs, the first of which was delegated into the Internet in October 2013," said Akram Atallah, president of ICANN's Global Domain's Division.  "In the past several months there has been an increasing level of interest in the timing of the next application process. While we have been focusing our resources on ensuring the current round of gTLDs are ushered safely into the Internet, we are now at a point where we can kick-off discussions regarding a subsequent round."

Based on current estimates, a subsequent application round is not expected to launch until 2016 at the earliest.

The gTLD Applicant Guidebook provided that ICANN's goal is to launch subsequent gTLD application rounds as quickly as possible, noting that the exact timing would be based on experiences gained and changes required after the completion of the first round.

As of 22 September, 515 applicants have signed registry agreements with ICANN; 395 new gTLDs have been delegated under the program; 312 TLDs have submitted TLD Startup Information to ICANN for publication.  Initial Evaluation has been completed for all applications, with a small number undergoing re-evaluation due to application change requests initiated by the applicants.  The remaining objection processes and contention resolution processes are proceeding according to schedule.  Program statistics are updated weekly and may be viewed here. With these operations proceeding in a stable manner, ICANN is now allocating resources to preparations for subsequent rounds.

Guided by ICANN's stated goal of opening a new application round in a timely manner, the activities described in the Work Plan are intended to ensure that the next application round can take place with the added benefits of experience gained in the first round.  The Work Plan is intended to enable ICANN to support and facilitate the reviews and discussions to occur through the multi-stakeholder process on the future of the Program.

A session is planned at the upcoming ICANN public meeting in Los Angeles to present and discuss the plan.

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.


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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."