Internet Domain Names to Contain Non-Latin Characters

ICANN has appoved the use of non-Latin characters in Internet domain names.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The first Internet addresses containing non-Latin characters from start to finish will soon be online thanks to today's approval of the new Internationalized Domain Name Fast Track Process by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers board.

"The coming introduction of non-Latin characters represents the biggest technical change to the Internet since it was created four decades ago," said ICANN chairman Peter Dengate Thrush. "Right now Internet address endings are limited to Latin characters—A to Z. But the Fast Track Process is the first step in bringing the 100,000 characters of the languages of the world online for domain names."

ICANN's Fast Track Process launches on 16 November 2009. It will allow nations and territories to apply for Internet extensions reflecting their name—and made up of characters from their national language. If the applications meet criteria that includes government and community support and a stability evaluation, the applicants will be approved to start accepting registrations.

"This is only the first step, but it is an incredibly big one and an historic move toward the internationalization of the Internet," said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN's President and CEO. "The first countries that participate will not only be providing valuable information of the operation of IDNs in the domain name system, they are also going to help to bring the first of billions more people online – people who never use Roman characters in their daily lives."

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