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Press Communique: ICANN Names Fifteen New Post-Testbed Registrars

(July 6, 1999) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced today that fifteen 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. Until the initial introduction of competitive registration services last month, registration services in the .com, .net, and .org domains were provided solely by Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), which has enjoyed an exclusive right to handle registrations under a 1992 Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Government.

The fifteen companies named today will join the 5 already-accredited testbed registrars and the 37 post-testbed registrars that have been announced by ICANN since April, 1999. "These fifteen companies are a powerful testament to the energy, commitment, and determination which have marked the Internet community's ongoing efforts to bring the benefits of open competition to the market for domain name registration services in the .com, .net, and .org domains," said Mike Roberts, President and CEO of ICANN. The fifteen companies named today are:

Further information about these companies will be available shortly on the ICANN website at http://www.icann.org/registrars/accreditation.html.

ABOUT REGISTRAR ACCREDITATION

The 15 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 July 16, 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 accredited company 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. For further details, see http://www.icann.org/registrars/accreditation.html.

The five companies accredited to participate in the testbed phase are: America Online; CORE (Internet Council of Registrars); France Telecom/Oléane; Melbourne IT; and register.com. For more on the testbed registrars, see http://www.icann.org/announcements/icann-pr21apr99.htm.

The 37 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; ABACUS America, Inc./A+Net; Active ISP; Advanced Systems Consulting, Inc.; Alldomains.com; All West Communications; American Domain Name Registry; AT&T; CASDNS, Inc.; Domain Bank, Inc.; Domain Direct; DomainRegistry.com; eNom, Inc.; InfoAvenue; InfoNetworks; InfoRamp/Tech Dogs; Interactive Telecom Network; Interdomain; Internet Domain Registrars; interQ Incorporated; Marvin Enterprises, Inc./Global Knowledge Group; MS Intergate; The Name-It Corporation/Advanced Internet Technologies, Inc.; NameSecure.com; Name.Space Inc.; NetBenefit; NetNames; NetNation Communications; Nominalia; Port Information System AB; PSI-Japan, Inc.; RCN; Telepartner AS; Verio; Virtual Internet; and WebTrends. For more on these companies, see http://www.icann.org/registrars/accreditation-qualified-list.html.

ABOUT ICANN

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 (DNS), the allocation of IP address space, and the management of the root server system.

For more information, please contact:

Andrew McLaughlin
mclaughlin@icann.org
+1 (617) 495-4935


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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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."