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ICANN Issues New TLD Application Process Overview

Following the ICANN meetings in Yokohama in mid-July 2000, ICANN has received a very large number of inquiries regarding the process for applying to sponsor or operate new TLDs.

The nature and extent of the inquiries makes clear that there is a significant amount of confusion regarding the process for applying, the evaluation of applications, and the following steps toward implementation of new TLDs. The ICANN staff has concluded that to achieve a responsible introduction of new TLDs it is important to provide the community with a more detailed overview of the entire application process before detailed application instructions are issued.

The ICANN staff has posted a comprehensive overview, which permits prospective applicants to evaluate the resources that will be required to submit an application. The overview gives guidance on preparatory steps that should be taken before beginning actual drafting of the extensive application that will be necessary.

Documents giving additional details on the process and requirements will be made available later in August. We anticipate that the period for submitting applications will open on 5 September and close on 2 October.

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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."