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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 06:56 GMT
Wales on the web may become .cym
Adrian Browne
BBC Wales political reporter

Computer keyboard, BBC
Campaigners say the domain will unite Welsh-speaking communities
Welsh websites could soon choose a .cym address rather than .uk, if a campaign backed by assembly members succeeds.

The assembly's house committee voted to support efforts to get .cym accepted as a top-level domain (TLD) name root on websites with a Welsh interest.

Domain names are the "real language" addresses of websites. Their root names include .com, .net and .org.

AMs believe use of .cym would enhance Welsh culture and identity and also help "democratise" the internet.

It would it seem that the adoption of .cym would be an effective way of promoting the Welsh language and Welsh identity
Dafydd Elis-Thomas

Assembly Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas said: "As well as Welsh-language sites, it could be used for sites in another language which are also of Welsh interest."

The dotCYM campaign claims to have support from people in commerce, design, publishing and the legal sectors, but needs to persuade the international body responsible, ICANN, that there is widespread demand for the right to use the suffix.

Lord Elis-Thomas added: "Since .cat has been introduced as a TLD in Catalonia, there has been an increase of 33% in the number of sites using Catalan, so it would it seem that the adoption of .cym would be an effective way of promoting the Welsh language and Welsh identity.

"It would also be a part of the democratisation of the web."

Online Identity

The dotCYM campaign believes that if it succeeds it will create a way to unite Welsh-speaking communities across Wales, the UK and the rest of the world.

Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black has endorsed the campaign on his weblog, describing it as an opportunity for Wales to assert its identity online.

He said: "It is also a chance for Welsh civic society and the Welsh assembly itself to associate themselves with the country as part of their internet presence.

"Catalonia has a TLD, so why not Wales?"

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