ICANN ignites International Domain Name use

Soon any national government will be able to use their native alphabet characters for their Web addresses as the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently approved the use of non-Roman characters in Web addresses. Later this month ICANN will kick off a Fast Track Process that will enable countries and territories to apply for Internet extensions that represent their names and characters from their respective languages.

Describing its latest move as one of the "biggest technical change to the Internet since it was created four decades ago," ICANN's move will enable users to leverage their country's native language characters. Current web addresses only use the letters A-Z and digits 0-9.

ICANN says this move will include 100,000 characters of the world's languages. In the near-term, ICANN's change will only be seen at country-code top level domains controlled by national governments that have web addresses that end in .cn, .uk, or .us, which designate the countries China, United Kingdom and the U.S. These ccTLDs cover about 40 percent of today's web sites.

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- Information Week has this article