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Old 16th September 2010, 06:27 PM
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Rod Beckstrom @ Unesco forum - IGF

UNESCO and ICANN share a commitment to full internationalization of the Internet to preserve our heritage and to ensure that mankind’s greatest communications tool embraces all people around the world.
ICANN works toward a common good – a stable, secure and unified global Internet. It fulfills the goal by maintaining the security and stability of the domain name system, which is one important component of the global Internet. And it is a multistakeholder, multinational institution overseen “by the world, for the world”, reflecting its increasingly global work.
Our economies, our communications, our social and cultural lives are linked by the Internet, and a truly global Internet means that anyone can connect to anyone anywhere, at any time. For many millions, the introduction of internationalized domain names means they can do so in their primary language. 1
Five of the top ten languages used on the Internet today rely on a non-Latin script: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. Millions more fall into the broad category of “other” languages – not in the top ten – and many of them rely on non-Latin scripts.
In late 2009 ICANN launched a fast track process to introduce internationalized domain names, and in May the Russian top-level domain name in Cyrillic was entered into the Internet’s DNS root. For the first time, people whose primary language is written in Cyrillic could navigate online entirely in their own language. Arabic, Chinese, Sinhalese, Tamil and Thai scripts followed, and billions more can now access the Internet using only their primary language script.
Thirty-three requests representing 22 languages are being processed through the fast track system and 14 IDN country code top-level domains are now in the root, representing 11 countries and territories.
The 22 languages include Arabic, Chinese and Russian, three of the ten most used languages. They have Internet penetrations of 20 percent, 33 percent and 43 percent respectively, so there is still a lot of room for continued development and growth within these language groups.
We expect to receive requests from many other countries and territories, and we welcome UNESCO’s plan to provide linguistic support to those that want to participate in the fast track process but need linguistic help in preparing their request. ICANN also has staff available to assist those in general need of help in applying.
An internationalized domain name offers multiple benefits. It helps to foster innovation and creativity, and to provide better branding opportunities for local companies, countries and communities. It increases convenience and consumer choice, and generates educational opportunities. And most important, it opens the Internet to millions who until now have been hindered by the need to use Latin scripts.
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