The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will start the trial testing of internationalized domain names (IDN) in the Top Level Domain (TLD) system, in the third quarter of 2006, Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN says.

Commenting on the recent change that China has made towards its domain name system, Twomey said the change that China has made is mainly to build up their second-level domain name structure as other countries do. "We do not see they are transferring their own domain name systems onto their single root services."

Once IDN domain names are implemented Internet sites will able to have domain names in foreign languages, and foreign character sets- such as Chinese.

In order to implement the internationalized domain name system, ICANN has launched two working groups including the Presidents Advisory Committee with technical experts, and a policy group to draft explicit policies on the application and operation of IDNs. Twomey said that ICANN was expecting the policy development process to come to a conclusion in the end of the third quarter or the early fourth quarter this year.

The three biggest concerns for ICANN to implement IDNs in TLD include technical stability, the linguistic issue of language characters, and the policy of later operation. "The launch of IDNs is a big issue for ICANN, and important to Internet users worldwide, especially those who do not speak English," said Twomey.

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