.au domain names in other languages a possibility: AUDA

Domain name administrator willing to consider non-Latin alphabet domain names in Australia

The organisation responsible for administering Australia's domain names has said it is willing to consider .au website addresses in other languages.

Last week the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced countries and territories will be able to apply to show domain names in their native language starting from mid-November.

The Australian Domain Name Administrator (AUDA) CEO, Chris Disspain said he was willing to consider non-Latin alphabet domain names in Australia.

"If we thought there was any demand for it we would certainly consider it," he said.

The ICANN decision is a significant technical tweak to Internet design and will assist in providing Internet access to millions of people who are not able to read Latin alphabet-based languages, such as those in North Asia, the Middle East and South Asia.

At a meeting in Seoul ICANN approved a Fast Track Process for applying for an Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) and will begin accepting applications on November 16 after years of technical testing and policy development.

In future countries will be able to display country-code Top Level Domains (cc TLDs) in their native language. cc TLDs are those that have a two-letter country designation at the end of a domain name.

In reality, the new domain names will be stored in the DNS as sequences of letters and numbers beginning xn-- in order to maintain compatibility with the existing infrastructure. The characters following the xn-- will be used to encode a sequence of Unicode characters representing the country name.

The possibility of ccTLDs in non-Latin based languages in Australia means migrant organisations and others may be able to create website addresses in scripts of their choosing. It may also let companies doing business overseas create website names in the language of their target market.

The AUDA has not had any companies or organisations approach it requesting .au domain names in other languages, however, Disspain said it was a possibility going forward.

"We have to see a demand for it and we have to make sure it is viable," he said. "Technically it is perfectly reasonable."

Earlier in October, the Australian Domain Name Administrator (AUDA) has announced plans to reactivate the second-level domain names (2LDs) conf.au and info.au.

The AUDA has called for public submissions regarding the use of the dormant 2LDs as part of a wider plan. It is also inviting people to submit proposals for the creation of a potentially unlimited number of new 2LDs in the .au domain space.

IDG News Service's Jeremy Kirk contributed to this report

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