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ICANN Releases First Internationalised Top Level Domain Names

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organisation in charge of domain names globally, has announced the release of the first non-latin domain names.

The first so-called internationalised domain names country code top level domains - IDN ccTLD in short - have been rolled out in the DNS root zone for the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

ICANN (opens in new tab) fast tracked the process of getting the IDN ccTLD approved at their last annual meeting in Seoul in October last year with Jordan being the latest country to complete the String Evaluation process successfully.

The entity has received 21 requests for IDN ccTLD approval covering 11 languages; 13 of them have been approved.

ICANN says that Arabic is amongst one of the most popular languages on the internet today with the Middle-East averaging around 20 percent and with the region apparently showing a "big potential for growth".

Rod Beckstrom, the ICANN president, said that "Over half the internet users around the world don't use a Latin-based script as their native language" before adding that "IDNs are about making the internet more global and accessible for everyone."

China and other Asian countries are expected to be given their own IDN shortly to increase internet penetration rate amongst native users.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.