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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 19:09 GMT
Rush expected on EU domain name
Keyboard and mouse
The new domain has generated a lot of interest
EU companies and public bodies are expected to rush to register addresses for the new .eu domain when it is launched next week, the EU says.

Information society and media commissioner Viviane Reading said she expected hundreds of thousands of bodies to apply in the first few days.

The .eu domain will "become as important for European business as .com", she added.

Registration will open to all starting from April.

Three phases

For two months from 7 December, only registered trademarks, public bodies, company names and some other rights holders can apply.

A second phase will begin on 2 February, when companies with other rights such as unregistered trademarks, trade names or company names can begin to apply.

The staggered registration period aims to stop "cyber squatters" - people who buy up web addresses with the same name as groups or companies, and offer to sell them on at an inflated price.

All EU institutions will begin using the .eu domain in their web addresses from April next year.

The domain will be run by EURid on behalf of the US-based group which manages the domains system worldwide.

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