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EDITIONS
Monday, 16 December, 2002, 06:17 GMT
Internet to get new domain names
Computer user
New domains are likely to be limited to specific fields
The key body in charge of internet addresses has approved plans to create more domain names - represented by the suffix after the final dot in web addresses.

Organisations have long complained that existing top-level domains - led by .com and .org - are overcrowded.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) will determine the precise new domain names at a meeting early next year.

Domain names approved in 2000
.biz
.info
.name
.pro
.coop
.museum
.aero
They are unlikely to be freely available to subscribers, but limited to organisations in specific fields.

This follows the model of the last round of restricted domain names introduced in 2000, which included .museum, for museums.

Among the many suggested new names are: .travel, .health and .news.

It is likely that many of the new names will be proposed and sponsored by organisations.

Under the new plans, any organisation can propose a name. But it must prove that the new domain will represent a well-defined community closely associated with the domain name, and supply a $50,000 application fee.

Final approval rests with Icann.

'Long wait'

Companies welcomed the prospect of a new range of domain names, but complained that it had been a long time coming.

"Two years is a long time to wait," Lauri Hirvonen at the Finnish telecommunications company Nokia told the news agency Associated Press.

Icann has also attracted criticism from both governmental and internet groups about its legitimacy and procedures.

It was established by the US Department of Commerce to regulate internet addresses, but infuriated internet groups whose proposed domain names it rejected and has been accused of dabbling in issues far removed from its addressing remit.

It tried to tackle some of the concerns about its legitimacy on Sunday, when it announced reforms to streamline the decision-making process.

But Icann president M Stuart Lynn acknowledged that freeing up a limited number of domain names was unlikely to satisfy all his critics.

"There will always be controversy," he said.

See also:

23 Sep 02 | Technology
01 Nov 02 | Technology
01 Nov 02 | Technology
30 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
30 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
31 Oct 02 | Technology
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