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IDN ccTLDs – The First Four

The last week has been focused on historic IDN accomplishments and news: The first four IDN ccTLDs have been introduced and are all functioning.

The corresponding countries are:
United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russian Federation, and Egypt.

This essentially means that we have started seeing domain names where the top-level/extension is either: امارات. السعودية. .рф مصر.

Congratulations to the teams behind:

• United Arab Emirates: امارات.
• Saudi Arabia: السعودية.
• Russian Federation: .рф
• Egypt: مصر.

The simultaneous delegation of the three Arabic based IDN ccTLDs was completed last week, and the delegation of the Russian IDN ccTLD was completed this week in conjunction with the Russian Internet Governance Forum:

This is an history milestone and an achievement reached due to years of hard work by so many people across the world, including: technical developments with the core group in the IETF’s IDNA protocol working group; development of the policies and procedures; application development to ensure IDNs work across browser and other software; and so forth.

ICANN would like to thank everyone involved in making IDN TLDs a reality, and we look forward to seeing how IDN TLDs are embraced by users globally, and to the introduction of the next group of IDN ccTLDs. The full list will continue to be updated and can be found here:

Some of the milestones leading to the last week’s great IDN result:

12 May 2010: Delegation of the Russian Federation IDN ccTLD

5 May 2010: Simultaneous delegation of the three first IDN ccTLDs for United Arabic Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt.

22 April 2010: ICANN Board approval of the first four country delegations, for Saudi Arabia, United Arabic Emirates, Russian Federation, and Egypt.

21 January 2010: ICANN announces the first four IDN ccTLD requests as having completed step 2 (of 3) in the Fast Track Process, thereby the requested IDN ccTLDs have been approved.

16 November 2009: ICANN launches the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process thereby opening up for countries and territories to submit requests for IDN ccTLDs.

30 October 2009: ICANN Board approves the Final Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process, and announces the launch.

Oct 2008: First draft implementation plan for IDN ccTLD Process

Feb 2008: First report from the IDNC WG leading to IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process

Jun 2003: IDNA protocol, IDN Guidelines, initiation of browser implementation

An area of the ICANN website is dedicated to IDN resources, and includes links to all the milestones and news announcements:


    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."