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Old 4th May 2011, 10:51 PM
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Re: ICANN's Congress hearing in 10 min (10am est time)

Click on the name of the speaker to get the testimonies: http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_05022011.html

Steve DelBianco:

When the gTLD expansion plan began to bog-down, it looked as if IDN domains would
be delayed, too. In reaction to governments’ concerns about this delay, ICANN created a ‘fast
track’ for IDNs – but only for country-code domains that are controlled by governments.
In November 2009, ICANN launched the “fast track” for Country Code domains (ccTLDs), but
generic domains (such as .com and .org ) were left on the slow track when it comes to serving
the half of the world’s population that doesn’t use our alphabet. Websites seeking to reach
non-Latin users now must use a country-code domain, where governments can enforce local
restrictions on domain ownership and site content.
For example, an Arabic user seeking to access YouTube.com in all-Arabic could only
choose from among Arabic versions of YouTube domain that were permitted by governments
who control Arabic country-code domains (youtube.sy in Syria; youtube.ly in Libya; etc.) It
would undoubtedly be more convenient and empowering for Arabic users to access the global,
generic address youtube.com -- entirely in Arabic.
But ICANN’s ccTLD fast track gave government-controlled ccTLDs a two-year head start
against IDN versions of generic TLDs in terms of building market share of registrations and
mindshare of Internet users. While non-government applicants can propose IDN versions of
new gTLDs, they may find it hard to justify a million dollar investment to reach small linguistic
communities, particularly if ICANN’s fast-track let a ccTLD get there first.
In the upcoming round of new gTLDs, ICANN should actively promote and support
gTLDs for small linguistic communities – particularly IDN scripts. ICANN can start by expanding
its communications plan to educate global governments, businesses, and users about the ways
that new gTLDs can serve local language communities

Steven Metalitz:

By contrast, the Phase II report indicated, “differentiated offerings” seem much more
likely to provide public benefits, and to impose fewer external costs. This favorable balance may
be most striking for gTLDs that use non-Latin character scripts (sometimes referred to as 4
Internationalized Domain Names, or “top level IDNs”).
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