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What will the Net bring to the developing world? OECD discussion

OECD logoICANN is not responsible in any way for the expansion or promotion of the Internet as a network but inevitably the organisation is asked what it can do, and philosophically at least, we are dedicated to ensuring the network’s many benefits are enjoyed by as many people around the globe as possible. It is also in our interests to make sure that the organisation is in a position to effectively engage the “next billion users”.

Usually, when asked what ICANN can do to help expand access to the Internet, we point to many of the other organisations that do concern themselves with this work, most of whom have representatives that attend ICANN meetings and involve themselves in our policy-making processes. As such, we would like to draw your attention to an open consultation that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is having this Thursday.

Called “Ask the economists: Internet & development – towards a Wider World Web?”, there will be a live online question and answer session between 14.00 and 16.00 Paris time (13.00 to 15.00 GMT) on Thursday 21 February 2008 where Sam Paltridge from the OECD’s Science, Technology and Industry division, will answer questions. The theme is: “What benefits would the Internet bring to the developing world? How can a competitive market be created to attract investment to build networks while making Internet access affordable? And what impact would the arrival of several billion new users have on the Internet as we know it today?”

The OECD has produced a report [pdf] that will form the centre of discussions and you can send questions or comments on this issue in English or French in advance, or during the debate, to For more information, visit the OECD’s dedicated webpage.


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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"""" is not an IDN."