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Dawn of a New Internet Era

Today marks an historic moment, not only for the New gTLD Program, but for the Internet as a whole. Today, the first new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) from ICANN’s New gTLD Program were delegated, or introduced into the Internet’s Root Zone. What does this mean? Well, it means a few things. From a big picture perspective, it signals the beginning of the largest-ever expansion of the Domain Name System (DNS); a change that promises to promote global innovation, competition and consumer choice. It means you will soon see the Internet grow from the 22 gTLDs that we have now (e.g., .COM, .BIZ, .ORG) to more than 1400 new possibilities.

From a logistics perspective, delegation means that the gTLD Registry can start what is known as a “Sunrise” period. This is a rights protection mechanism built into the New gTLD Program to allow trademark holders an opportunity to register Second-Level Domains corresponding to their marks. All new gTLD Registry operators must conduct a Sunrise period of no less than 30 days. Following this, operators are free to make their domains available to the public; a period called “General Availability.”

We’ll see other new gTLDs delegated over the course of the coming months and through 2014.

It’s no accident that the first tranche of gTLDs to be delegated are all non-Latin strings – or as we officially refer to them, Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) gTLDs. In addition to facilitating competition and innovation through the New gTLD Program, one of ICANN’s key aims is to help create a globally inclusive Internet, regardless of language or region. For this reason, we elected to prioritize the processing of IDN applications and their delegation.

As more of the world’s developing countries come online it is a given that only a portion of the world’s expanding base of Internet users are native English speakers, so IDNs provide a huge opportunity to increase engagement, commerce and connectivity and represent a bold step forward in the globalization of the Internet.

For those of you who have followed the community’s long journey that got us to this point, we hope you join us in celebrating this achievement. If you are newly aware of the New gTLD Program, we welcome your participation in this next era of the Internet.

I’d also like to take a moment to congratulate the ICANN staff and our partners, and of course the applicants themselves, on their efforts that culminated with these successful delegations. They have worked diligently over the past few years with the ICANN community to ensure a safe and gradual rollout of new gTLDs to the public.

The Program continues to progress expeditiously on a secure path and at a careful pace. ICANN’s foremost purpose is to ensure the stability, security and integrity of the DNS. We look forward to providing further updates in the near future.

Comments

    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."