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Press Communique: ICANN Names Seven New Post-Testbed Registrars

(August 11, 1999) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced today that seven additional applicant companies have met its registrar accreditation criteria.

As accredited registrars, these seven companies will compete in the market for domain name registration services in the .com, .net, and .org domains. In addition, they will be able to participate the ongoing testbed program for the Shared Registry System, which allows multiple ICANN-accredited registrars to provide domain name registration services in the .com, Net, and .org domains. Under an agreement announced August 6 by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Network Solutions, Inc. (the developer of the Shared Registry System), new registrars that have signed an accreditation agreement with ICANN will be eligible to join the initial five testbed registrars as participants in the testbed operation. The testbed phase is currently scheduled to conclude on September 10, 1999.

The seven companies named today join the 57 companies that have already been accredited by ICANN starting in April, 1999. Until the initial introduction of competition in June, registration services in the .com, Net, and .org domains were provided solely by Network Solutions, Inc., under a 1992 Cooperative Agreement with the US Government.

The seven companies named today are:

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

ABOUT REGISTRAR ACCREDITATION

Under an October 6, 1998 amendment to the Cooperative Agreement between Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) and the US Government, the process of opening the Internet Domain Name System's three largest domains to competition was launched with a testbed phase that began on April 26. Five companies were initially accredited to use the NSI Shared Registry System in a test operation designed to ensure that the introduction of competition occurs in a smooth, coordinated manner. The original testbed participants, all of which are now offering registration services in competition with NSI, 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.

By qualifying to be accredited as registrars in the .com, Net, and .org top-level domains, the seven registrars named today join the five original testbed registrars, as well as the 52 other companies that have already qualified for ICANN accreditation. Under an agreement announced on August 6, 1999, the Shared Registry System testbed program has been expanded to extend to all accredited registrars that sign the standard testbed registrar agreements with NSI and meet technical certification requirements. For further details, see http://www.icann.org/registrars/accreditation.html.

The 52 other applicant companies previously announced as meeting ICANN's accreditation criteria are: 9NetAvenue; A Technology Company; ABACUS America, Inc./A+Net; Active ISP; Advanced Systems Consulting, Inc.; Affinity Hosting; Alabanza, Inc.; Alldomains.com; All West Communications; American Domain Name Registry; Animus Communications, Inc.; AT&T; CASDNS, Inc.; Computer Data Networks; Domain Bank, Inc.; Domain Direct; Domain Registration Services; DomainRegistry.com; EnetRegistry.com Corporation; eNom, Inc.; EPAG Enter-Price Multimedia AG; InfoAvenue; InfoNetworks; InfoRamp/Tech Dogs; InterAccess Company; 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.; PSINet, Inc.; RCN; Research Institute for Computer Science, Inc.; SiteName; Telepartner AS; TierraNet, Inc.; TotalWeb Solutions; Verio; Virtual Internet; WebTrends; and World-Net.

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 US Government, or by its contractors and volunteers. Specifically, ICANN is assuming responsibility for coordinating the management of the domain name system (DNS), the allocation of IP address space, the assignment of protocol parameters, 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."