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IDN ccTLD Fast Track Review: Public Comment Summary & Analysis

ICANN would like to thank all participants for taking part in the first annual review of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process [PDF, 498 KB]. The review of the process is being conducted to ensure that the process functions as well as possible for the Internet community and its users, and as such participation is very important.

This announcement is to provide the community with additional information concerning the Fast Track Review. The review was announced on 22 October 2010 and stated:

Following the close of the public comment period, Staff will produce a paper that contains analysis of the received comments as well as recommendations (if any) for changes to the Final Implementation Plan for the Fast Track Process. This paper will be publicly posted and it will be provided to the ICANN Board. The ICANN Board will consider next steps including, which of the proposed changes should be implemented and if additional community discussion is required.

The public comment period ran from 22 October to 17 December 2010 and was subsequently extended to 31 January 2011 at community request. The archive of received public comments can be found at: http://forum.icann.org/lists/fast-track-review-2010/

A public session was held during the ICANN meeting in Cartagena on 6 December 2010 to discuss how well the process was functioning for the community. Information about this session can be found at: http://cartagena39.icann.org/node/15415

We are now releasing an analysis of comments received from the online forum and the public session in Cartagena. A detailed summary of the comments and the ICANN recommendations to the received comments can be found here [PDF, 268 KB]. A general summary of the comments is provided below.

The recommendations should be considered as initial feedback to the community. All comments and the resulting recommendations for changes to the Fast Track Process will be provided to the ICANN Board for its consideration and decision.

Next Steps:

The report will be provided to the ICANN Board for their consideration at their meeting during the ICANN Silicon Valley meeting in San Francisco, USA, March 2011. Following ICANN Board consideration, changes and actions will be implemented by ICANN Staff. ICANN will provide an implementation plan.

Background Information:

The ICANN Board of Directors approved the Final Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process on 30 October 2009 (http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/resolutions-30oct09-en.htm#2), and directed staff to "monitor the operation of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process at regular intervals to ensure its smooth operation, and, subject to Board review, update the process when new technology or policies become available, with the goal to efficiently meet the needs of Fast Track process requesters, and to best meet the needs of the global Internet community."

The IDN ccTLD Fast Track was launched on 16 November 2009. ICANN commenced its first review of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process nearly one year later, on 22 October 2010.

To help initiate discussion, a list of potential topics was provided for the review, which included:

  • Transparency
  • Community Support
  • Meaningfulness
  • Determination of the IDN ccTLD Manager
  • IDN Tables
  • Confusingly Similar Strings
  • Disputes and objections/reevaluation rights

Summary of Received Comments

ICANN received input on the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Review from individual Internet users, the DNS technical community, APRALO, the Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation and the Country Code Names Supporting Organization. An analysis of these comments along with the ICANN recommendations is provided in this report [PDF, 268 KB].

  1. A large number of comments were received from individuals and entities in the Bulgarian Internet community, asking that ICANN re-evaluate the Bulgarian IDN ccTLD request for .bg in Cyrillic. Many questioned the transparency of the decision that found the applied for Bulgarian string was too similar to .br. Several commenters proposed that the requested string is not confusable with ".br." The commenters further proposed that because the proposed string is not confusable with .br, the applied-for string should be accepted by ICANN within the Fast Track Process. Alternatively, the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) stated that disputes and objection/re-evaluation are policy issues that should not be addressed through an amendment to the FastTrack Process.

  2. The ccNSO, APRALO, HKIRC and Jothan Frakes commended the successful launch of the Fast Track process. The ccNSO and HKIRC noted that the transparency in the process was appropriate and maintaining confidentiality during string evaluation allows requesting countries and territories to resolve issues ofpublic authority and community-support without undue politicization of the process.

  3. Several members of the DNS technical community noted issues with the treatment of IDN tables. One comment suggested that it was time for ICANN to stop publishing the IANA Repository. Several noted that this inserts ICANN into registry naming policy. The ccNSO stated that this was a policy issue not appropriately addressed in ICANN implementation processes. One comment stated that ICANN should not engage in or actively foster the management of IDN tables.

  4. Several commenters noted that the Fast Track was intended to be for clear cases and non-controversial requests. If the Fast Track process is to continue, issues with confusable strings as mentioned in the comments, will continue to arise.

  5. Several commenters raised the issue of delegating variant TLDs.


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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."