Australia to host ICANN 09

Experts descend on Sydney to discuss next-gen Internet

Sydney will host a conference of more than 1700 telecommunications experts next year to discuss the future of the Web, following lobbying of the Internet regulator by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the NSW Premier.

Experts will discuss how to implement a sweeping set of changes for Web addresses and protocols, such as the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), that will introduce new multimedia and automation capabilities and end the online domination of the English language.

The revolution of Top Level Domains [TLDs] and Internationalised Domain Names [IDNs] has been a hot topic for the regulator, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which created a implementation draft from discussions in its June meeting in Paris this year.

ICANN will hold the first of three conferences next year in Mexico, before opening in Sydney in June, and Korea in October. The six-day Sydney meeting took two years to be approved by ICANN and will represent the Asia Pacific region.

ICANN executive officer Paul Levins said the Prime Minister and NSW Premier wrote to the regulator to lobby for the Sydney meeting.

“The meeting will be a first for Sydney and will attract experts from around the world, including inventors of the Internet, to discuss issues dealing with the future of the expansion of the Internet,” Levins said.

“One of the major issues to be discussed will be the likely massive expansion of the Internet's real estate that could allow for new domain name extensions such as .Paris, .nyc (New York City), .berlin and maybe even .Sydney.”

Levin said Australia has one of the highest registration rates of domain names in the world.

The estimated application fee for a news TLD, the portion of a domainname that comes after the dot, could see Australian firms paying US$185,000 for the prestige of owning their own address suffix. Removing the cap off the strictly 21 TLD system will bring “innovation, choice and change” to the Internet, according to ICANN.

Melbourne IT CEO Theo Hnarakis said the high price for TLDs will stop bogus applications and cover the cost of disputes between entities vying for the same name.

IDN will allow non-English speaking people, who make up the bulk of Internet users, to search online using their own languages including Arabic, Hindi, Chinese or Hebrew.

ICANN said Australia will be deeply involved in the IDN discussion due to its proximity to the Asia-Pacific and cultural diversity.

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