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ICANN discusses international domain names

30 June, 2007
By Allison Orr

At a meeting in Puerto Rico, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has discussed the possibility of expanding the number of domain name suffixes to include non-English characters.

Currently, domain names can only be created from the 26 English letters, 10 numerals and the hyphen, but the new domains would support Chinese, Arabic, and Cyrillic characters.

There are several policy issues that would need to be considered before such a change can be made, such as who would control the new domains, and how to minimise confusion over similar looking domains in different languages.  However, testing the new domains is scheduled to start in November, and Paul Twomey, ICANN‚ÄĚs chief executive, has said that new domains could be established by the middle of next year

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