" ITREALMS: NIG applauds ICANN over approval of new TLDs


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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

NIG applauds ICANN over approval of new TLDs

The Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) has applauded the management of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) over the approval of the new Top Level Domains (TLD) names.

ITRealms Online recalls that the global Internet administrator, ICANN, last week announced the approval for the introduction of new names as Internet addressing system to be published in 2009.

President of NIG, the non-profit organization focused on the penetration of Internet usage in the country, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, told ITRealms Online exclusively at the weekend that the development is a pointer to the fact that the Internet is a dynamic phenomenon, and it’s governance has to catch up with realities.

The reality, he said, is the fact that users desire more choice in there selection of domain names, since there is no technical limitation to the realisation of this demand, the governance had to respond positively.

According to him, the lesson to learn from this in Nigeria is that there must be active role in the creation and management of local Internet governance.

Stressing for example, that Nigeria ought to have expanded her second level domain names space.

“The state should be given a second level domain name, such as yobe.ng, osun.ng, anambra.ng,” he said.

Mr. Ajayi, also said that by availing states with the second level domain names, they could then administer their various domain names by accepting registrations from registrants in their states which included state agencies and individuals.

He pointed out that the liberalization of the generic top level domain name also portends further competition for the Nigeria top level domain, .ng.

With this development, he said, that Nigeria domain name users would now have more options in the international top level domains.

Therefore, Nigeria’s top level domain, he noted, has to be more competitive in terms of pricing and ease of registration to attract potential registrants.

ITRealms Online noted that the chief executive officer, ICANN, Dr. Paul Twomey, had at the end of ICANN’s 32nd meeting in Paris, France, proclaimed the approval would facilitate a whole range of new names to be introduced soon.

This follows the recommendation by stakeholders for an increased availability of names that could be used as Internet addressing system beyond the commonly used ones like .com, .org, .info to name a few.

At the moment, Internet users have a limited range of 21 Top Level Domains (TLDs) to choose from, even as this proposal allows applicants for new names to self-select their domain name so that choices become most appropriate for their customers or potentially the most marketable.

Media adviser at ICANN, Jason Keenan explained in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online that it’s expected that applicants will apply for targeted community strings such as the existing .travel for the travel industry and .cat for the Catalan community as well as generic strings like .brandname or .yournamehere.

“There are already interested consortiums wanting to establish city-based top level domain, like .nyc (or New York City, .berlin and .paris among others,” he said.

Mr. Keenan further quoted Dr. Twomey as saying that the board has accepted a recommendation from the global stakeholders that it is possible to implement many new names to the Internet, which paves the way for an expansion of domain name choice and opportunity.

Twomey highlighted that a final version of the implementation plan must be approved by the ICANN board before the new process is launched.

Thus, he said, its intended that the final version will be published in early 2009.

According to him, “The potential here is huge. It represents a whole new way for people to express themselves on the Net. It’s a massive increase in the ‘real estate’ of the Internet.”

Also commenting, ICANN’s chairman, Mr. Peter Dengate Thrush, pointed out that its one of the most exciting prospect before the current board to expand the system which is also being planned to support extensions in the languages of the world.

“This is going to be very important for the future of the Internet in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia. The present system only supports 37 Roman characters,” Thrush said.

Upon approval of the implementation plan, it is planned that applications for new names will be available in the second quarter of 2009.

In addition, Keenan said that ICANN is not “selling” new top level domain names, noting that there will be a limited application period where any established entity from anywhere in the world could submit an application that will go through an evaluation process.

“It is anticipated that there will be additional rounds relatively soon after the close of the first application round,” he said

Emphasizing that the latest approval when on stream would ensure that trademarks will not be automatically reserved, but there will be an objection-based mechanism for trademark owners where their arguments for protection will be considered.

He stressed that the proposal came about based on the ICANN’s multi-stakeholder policy development process that served as the foundation for the process design, which involved consultation with domain name industry, trade mark attorneys, the business sector, users, governments and technicians.

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