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Press Release: ICANN to Announce First Five Competitive Domain Name Registrars

What:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN-www.icann.org) will announce the five companies that have been selected to participate in the initial testbed phase of the new competitive Shared Registry System for the .com, .net, and .org domains.  These five participants will be the first to implement the new system for competition in the market for .com, .net, and .org domain name registration services.  Currently, registration services in the .com, .net, and .org domains are provided by Network Solutions, Inc. under a contract with the United States government.

In addition, ICANN will announce the names of other companies that have met the criteria to serve as domain-name registrars in the post-testbed phase of full competition.

Who:

-Esther Dyson, ICANN Interim Chairman
-Mike Roberts, ICANN Interim President and Chief Executive Officer.
-Representatives of the five new registrars (names to be announced at the press conference).

Where:

National Press Club
Holeman Lounge
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, D.C.

Cybercast at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/icann/press/

When:

Wednesday, April 21
10:00-10:45am EDT

Background:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a new, non-profit, international corporation formed to oversee a select number of the Internet's core technical management functions. Between now and September 2000, ICANN is slated to gradually take over responsibility for coordinating domain name system management, IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment coordination, and root server system management.

Contact:

Pamela Brewster
Alexander Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
(415) 923-1660, ext. 167
pbrewster@alexanderogilvy.com


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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."