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IDN Variant TLD Program - Revised Program Plan

Comment/Reply Periods (*) Important Information Links
Comment Open: 4 May 2012
Comment Close: 25 May 2012
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 UTC Public Comment Announcement
Reply Open: 26 May 2012 To Submit Your Comments (Forum)
Reply Close: 15 June 2012 View Comments Submitted
Close Time (UTC): 23:59 UTC Report of Public Comments
Brief Overview
Originating Organization: ICANN
  • Top-Level Domains
  • IDNs
Purpose (Brief): To receive community feedback on the Revised IDN Variant TLD Program Plan [PDF, 199 KB].
Current Status: Phase II of IDN Variant Issues Project was completed with the publication of the Final Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB]. The ICANN Project team created a Proposed TLD Program Plan for the next steps [PDF, 211 KB], received community feedback on this plan and now publishes the Revised Program Plan based on that initial feedback: Revised IDN Variant TLD Program Plan [PDF, 199 KB]
Next Steps: The Revised Program Plan will be further revised as required based on this 2nd round of public comment.
Staff Contact: Kurt Pritz Email:
Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

Public Comment: IDN Variant TLD Program – Revised Program Plan [PDF, 199 KB]

The IDN Variant Issues Project explored the issues associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone, at the request of the ICANN Board and the community.

The first two phases of the project have been completed with the publication of the final Integrated Issues Report on 20 February 2012 and the project is now entering its next phase. ICANN has created a program plan for next steps and is now seeking community input on the proposed steps forward.

An earlier version of the plan was discussed at the ICANN public meeting in Costa Rica in March 2012, to determine whether and how ICANN should proceed with regard to additional work on IDN variant TLDs. Feedback received expressed concern about the length of time to implement that version of the plan, and the priorities given to some of the projects in the plan. Based on the comments received to date, the project plan has been updated to create the Revised Program Plan [PDF, 199 KB] now open for public comment.

Section II: Background

On 20 April 2011, ICANN announced the IDN Variant Issues Project to document the issues associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone. This project was initiated in response to a 2010 ICANN Board of Directors resolution.

Phase I involved the formation of six case study teams for the Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Greek and Latin scripts. These teams were comprised of community experts with support by ICANN and identified issues related to IDN variant TLDs for each particular script, resulting in the publication in October of six individual reports detailing the findings of each script team.

Phase II of the project focused on integrating those six case study reports into the Integrated Issues Report. To complete this phase, ICANN formed a coordination team comprised of experts from each of the case study teams. The coordination team advised ICANN in completing the Integrated Issues Report, which summarizes and categorizes the various issues related to the identification and management of IDN variant TLDs.

On 23 December 2011, ICANN published for public comment the draft Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 1.06 MB]. Following the public comment period, ICANN published a Summary and Analysis of comments received and the final Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB].

Section III: Document and Resource Links
Section IV: Additional Information

(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making that takes place once this period lapses.

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."