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CIRA plans to implement French Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)

June 12th, 2012 Comments off

Byron Holland, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, has posted  an update on CIRA’s plans to introduce IDN domain names into the .CA space. The registry operator of the Canadian ccTLD plans to introduce the internationalized domain names sometime in January of 2013.

Canadian IDN Domain Names

According to Byron, below are some highlights of the planned approach to introduce the IDN’s:

French Characters: CIRA will allow the registration of the following characters: é, ë, ê, è, â, à, æ, ô, œ, ù, û, ü, ç, î, ï, and ÿ.

Administrative Bundling: Character variants will be bundled together, meaning that the Registrant of a particular domain name will have the exclusive right to register all of the variants of that domain name (e.g., only the Registrant of preside.ca will be able to register préside.ca, prèsïdë.ca, prësîdê.ca, etc.).

Single Registrar: Domain names in a bundle must all be held by the same Registrar under the same Registrant contact.

Pricing: The wholesale pricing of IDNs, including French character variants of existing domain names, will not be higher than the pricing for any ASCII or English domain name. This will not apply, however to any price related promotions that CIRA may choose to offer, from time to time.

Expansion of the Canadian domain space

According to CIRA’s website, over the past 7 months, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority has considered the proposed implementation of French characters (also known as Internationalized Domain Names, or IDNs) in .CA domains.  As part of this process, CIRA consulted extensively with subject matter experts, CIRA’s Certified Registrars and conducted two public consultations to obtain feedback on the proposed implementation of IDN’s.

CIRA received a tremendous amount of feedback, which has directly and demonstrably shaped the IDN implementation plans.  IDNs are currently scheduled to be made available in early January of 2013. Now that the IDN consultation is complete, CIRA has begun to develop the policies for the implementation of IDNs, and the technology required to implement this new offering.

The .CA ccTLD domain names are only available for registration in ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange), otherwise known as non-accented Latin-based script (a-z).  However, CIRA will be implementing  French Interntionalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level (to the left of the dot).

.CA Domain Names International

According to the IDN Consultation recently released by CIRA, their main objectives for the launch of IDNs are as follows:

  • To provide the opportunity to Registrants to register domain names correctly in French, one of Canada’s two Official Languages
  • To continue to develop the .CA domain space as a key public resource for the social and economic development for all Canadians
  • For the IDN launch policies and procedures to reflect current world wide best practices
  • To ensure the policies and procedures of the launch be as consistent as possible with existing policies and procedures
  • For the policies and process not to be unduly complex
  • To reduce the potential for phishing and user confusion

As of this writing, there were 1,937,094 registered .CA domain names registered. The availability of IDN domains in the .CA space in the beginning of January 2013 is surely going to have an impact on new registrations, and will help further diversify the registry.

There is an interactive guide/roadmap that will help users better understand IDN’s and what’s to come.

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