Delegation of the seven top-level domains representing India in various languages

ICANN has received a request to delegate seven strings as country-code top-level domains representing India to National Internet Exchange of India. ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.

Factual Information

Country

The “IN” ISO 3166-1 code, from which this application's eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent India.

String

The seven domains under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level are:

  1. The string “भारत”, as represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--h2brj9c”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are 092D 093E 0930 0924. The string is expressed in Devanagari script, and in Hindi language.

  2. The string “بھارت”, as represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--mgbbh1a71e”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0628 06BE 0627 0631 062A. The string is expressed in Arabic script, and in Urdu language.

  3. The string “భారత్”, as represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--fpcrj9c3d”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0C2D 0C3E 0C30 0C24 0C4D. The string is expressed in Telugu script, and in Telugu language.

  4. The string “ભારત”, as represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--gecrj9c”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0AAD 0ABE 0AB0 0AA4. The string is expressed in Gujarati script, and in Gujarati language.

  5. The string “ਭਾਰਤ”, as represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--s9brj9c”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0A2D 0A3E 0A30 0A24. The string is expressed in Gurmukhi script, and in Punjabi language.

  6. The string “இந்தியா”, as represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--xkc2dl3a5ee0h”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0B87 0BA8 0BCD 0BA4 0BBF 0BAF 0BBE. The string is expressed in Tamil script, and in Tamil language.

  7. The string “ভারত”, as represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--45brj9c”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+09AD 09BE 09B0 09A4. The string is expressed in Bangla script, and in Bengali language.

The Tamil string is pronounced "India", with the remainder of the strings pronounced "Bharat". Each have a meaning equivalent to "India".

Chronology of events

Between October 2009 and April 2009, outreach workshops were held in different regions on India by the applicant in order to firstly raise awareness of internationalised domain names, and then specifically on how Indian internationalised domain names should be deployed. Overall there were around 800 attendees to these workshops.

In May 2010, applications were made to the "IDN Fast Track" process to have the various strings recognised as representing India. The requests were supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Central Institute of Indian Languages, the Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Letters), along with others.

On 1 September 2010, review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that "the applied-for strings associated with the applications from [tIndia] (a) present none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS ... and (b) present an acceptable low risk of user confusion". The request for the string to represent the Republic of Korea was subsequently approved.

On 30 September 2010, the National Internet Exchange of India commenced requests to ICANN for delegation of the various strings at top-level domains.

Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts

The proposed sponsoring organisation is the National Internet Exchange of India, an incorporated company under Indian law. Its registered office at Incube Business Centre, 5th floor, 18 Nehru Place, New Delhi, India.

The proposed administrative and technical contact is Rajiv Kumar, Systems Analyst at the National Internet Exchange of India. The contact is understood to be resident in India.

Evaluation of the Request

String Eligibility

The top-level domains are eligible for delegation under ICANN policy, as the strings have been deemed appropriate representations of India through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and India is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.

Public Interest

The applicant has not provided an explicit declaration of support from the Government of India, but notes it has made public statements in support of the application and has submitted this application to ICANN. The Government will have a central role in the operation of the proposed domains as it acts as chair of the sponsoring organisation.

Letters of support for the application have been received from the Center for Development of Advanced Computing; the ISP Association of India; the Internet Society, Delhi Chapter; the Internet and Mobile Association of India and the Cyber Café Association of India. The applicant has provided this support as well as extensive details of public consultation as evidence of appropriate levels of local Internet community support.

The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in India.

The proposed sponsoring organisation undertakes to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.

Based in country

The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in India. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in India. The registry is to be operated in the country.

Stability

The application does not involve a transfer of domain operations from an existing domain registry, and therefore stability aspects relating to registry transfer have not been evaluated.

The application is not known to be contested.

Competency

The application has provided satisfactory details on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the proposed new domain. Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.

Evaluation Procedure

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is tasked with managing the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with the U.S. Government. This includes managing the delegations of top-level domains.

A subset of top-level domains are designated for the local Internet communities in countries to operate in a way that best suits their local needs. These are known as country-code top-level domains, and are assigned by ICANN to responsible trustees (known as “Sponsoring Organisations”) who meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the trustee has from their local Internet community, their capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and their applicability under any relevant local laws.

Through an ICANN department known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), requests are received for delegating new country-code top-level domains, and redelegating or revoking existing country-code top-level domains. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, when appropriate, the requests are implemented. Decisions on whether to implement requests are made by the ICANN Board of Directors, taking into account ICANN’s core mission of ensuring the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.

Purpose of evaluations

The evaluation of eligibility for country-code top-level domains, and of evaluating responsible trustees charged with operating them, is guided by a number of principles. The objective of the assessment is that the action enhances the secure and stable operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems. The evolution of the principles has been documented in “Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (RFC 1591), “Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (ICP-1), and other informational memoranda.

In considering requests to delegate or redelegate country-code top-level domains, input is sought regarding the proposed new Sponsoring Organisation, as well as from persons and organisations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated.

The assessment is focussed on the capacity for the proposed sponsoring organisation to meet the following criteria:

Method of evaluation

To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and method of operation. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, various documentation is sought describing: the views of the local internet community on the application; the competencies and skills of the trustee to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed trustee; and the nature of government support fort he proposal. The view of any current trustee is obtained, and in the event of a redelegation, the transfer plan from the previous sponsoring organisation to the new sponsoring organisation is also assessed with a view to ensuring ongoing stable operation of the domain.

After receiving this documentation and input, it is analysed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed sponsoring organisation should the information provided in the original application be deficient. The applicant is given the opportunity to cure any deficiencies before a final assessment is made.

Once all the documentation has been received, various technical checks are performed on the proposed sponsoring organisation’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries for the top-level domain being requested. Should any anomalies be detected, ICANN staff will work with the applicant to address the issues.

Assuming all issues are resolved, an assessment is compiled providing all relevant details regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and its suitability to operate the top-level domain being requested. This assessment is submitted to ICANN’s Board of Directors for its determination on whether to proceed with the request.