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Press Communiqu: ICANN Names Eight New Post-Testbed Registrars

(May 25, 1999) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced today that eight additional applicant companies have met its accreditation criteria and, upon completion of the ongoing testbed program, will be accredited to compete as registrars in the .com, .net, and .org domains. Currently, registration services in the .com, .net, and .org domains are provided by Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), which has enjoyed an exclusive right to handle registrations under a 1993 Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Government. The eight companies named today will join the 5 already-accredited testbed registrars and the 29 post-testbed registrars that were announced by ICANN on April 21, 1999.

The eight companies named today are:

Further information about these companies will be available shortly on the ICANN website


The 8 companies named today have qualified to be accredited upon the completion of the competitive registrar testbed program for the Shared Registry System in the .com, .net, and .org domains. Under the Cooperative Agreement between NSI and the U.S. Government, the testbed program began on April 26 and is scheduled to last until June 24, 1999. Following the conclusion of the testbed phase, the Shared Registry System for the .com, .net, and .org domains will be opened on equal terms to all accredited registrars, meaning that any company that meets ICANN's standards for accreditation will be able to enter the market as a registrar and offer customers competitive domain name registration services in the .com, .net, and .org domains. A FAQ on the registrar accreditation and testbed programs has been posted at

The five companies accredited to participate in the testbed phase are: American Online; CORE (Internet Council of Registrars); France Telecom/Oléane; Melbourne IT; and For more on the testbed registrars, see

The 29 other applicant companies that have met ICANN's accreditation criteria and that will be accredited to compete as registrars upon completion of the testbed phase are: 9NetAvenue; A Technology Company; Active ISP;; All West Communications; American Domain Name Registry; AT&T; Domain Direct;; eNom, Inc.; InfoAvenue; InfoNetworks; InfoRamp; Interactive Telecom Network; Interdomain; Internet Domain Registrars; interQ Incorporated; MS Intergate;; Name.Space Inc.; NetBenefit; NetNames; Nominalia; Port Information System AB; RCN; Telepartner AS; Verio; Virtual Internet; and WebTrends. For more on these companies, see ICANN's List of Post-Testbed Registrars.


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit, international corporation formed in September 1998 to oversee a select set of Internet technical management functions currently managed by the U.S. Government, or by its contractors and volunteers. Specifically, ICANN is taking over responsibility for coordinating the assignment of protocol parameters, the management of the domain name system, the allocation of IP address space, and the management of the root server system.

For more information, please contact:

Andrew McLaughlin
+1 (617) 495-4935

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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"""" is not an IDN."