Delegation of .қаз ("kaz") representing Kazakhstan in Cyrillic

ICANN has received a request to delegate the .қаз domain, a country-code top-level domain representing Kazakhstan, to the Association of IT Companies of Kazakhstan. ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.

Factual Information

Country

The “KZ” ISO 3166-1 code from which the application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent Kazakhstan.

String

The domain under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level is “қаз”.This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--80ao21a”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+049B U+0430 U+0437.

In Kazakh language, the string has a meaning equivalent to “kaz” in English. Its pronunciation in English is transliterated as “kaz”. The string is expressed using the Cyrillic script.

Chronology of events

In 2004 the Association of IT Companies of Kazakhstan was founded as a non-profit organization.

On 19 July 2010, an application was made to the “IDN Fast Track” process to have the string “каз” recognised as representing Kazakhstan. The initially suggested string was represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--80aoh”.

On 17 September 2010, the Second Congress of the IT companies of Kazakstan with the support from the Ministry of Communications and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan took place in the country. More than 300 representatives of local IT companies, government agencies, national and international companies participated. Among other topics, the selection of the proper IDN for Kazakhstan was discussed.

On 11 November 2010, the Association of IT companies of Kazakhstan held a round table discussion “Issues on implementation of a National Internet-addressing IDN”. Representatives from the Ministry of Communications and Information and IT companies of Kazakhstan participated in this event. The majority of participants supported string “қаз” as the top-level domain representing Kazakhstan in Kazakh language.

On 26 July 2011, the concept project (that came out as a result of the round table) was published to initiate public discussions by the Internet community on this topic.

In summer 2011, applicants submitted updated information to the “IDN Fast Track” process to have the string “қаз” recognised as representing Kazakhstan. The string is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--80ao21a”. The request was supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

On 2 August 2011, review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that "the applied-for string ... presents none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS identified in [the IDN Fast Track implementation plan] ... and presents an acceptably low risk of user confusion". The request for the string to represent Kazakhstan was subsequently approved.

On 5 October 2011, the Association of IT Companies of Kazakhstan commenced a request to ICANN for delegation of “қаз” as a top-level domain. During the next several months IANA Root Management Staff were working with applicants on gathering the necessary information and documentation.

Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts

The proposed sponsoring organisation is the Association of IT Companies of Kazakhstan, a non-profit organization established in 2004. The Association of IT Companies of Kazakhstan is the current operator of the .KZ ASCII country code top-level domain.

The proposed administrative contact is Nurlan Issin, President of the Association of IT Companies of Kazakhstan. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Kazakhstan.

The technical contact is Pavel Gussev, Director of KazNIC Organization.

Evaluation of the Request

String Eligibility

The top-level domain is eligible for delegation under ICANN policy, as the string has been deemed an appropriate representation of Kazakhstan through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and Kazakhstan is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.

Public Interest

Explicit government support for the application was provided in the letter from the Ministry of Communications and Information Republic of Kazakhstan in which the Minister authorises “the existing Manager of .kz top level domain represented by public organization, Kazakhstan Association of IT Companies and Technical Operator represented by non-profit private institution KazNIC ... to exercise the similar functions in national top level domain .қаз and to represent the Republic of Kazakhstan in relationships with international Internet organizations...”

Additional support was stated in the letters from National Telecommunication Association of Kazakhstan and “Internet Association of Kazakhstan” Association of Legal Entities.

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

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 Kazakhstan. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Kazakhstan. 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. The proposed operator will be performing administrative duties related to the management of the domain, while KazNIC organization will be responsible for technical operations. The proposed operator is the current manager of .KZ ASCII country code top-level domain for Kazakhstan. The proposed set up between the two organisations is governed by Agreement No. 060101 dated 1 January 2006 and has been in place in case of .KZ country-code top-level domain management.

Applicant has stated that the domain will be managed “without any discrimination” and provided a document “Conception for Registration of Secondary Level .қаз Domain Names” in accordance with which registrations will be handled. Registration policies will also be based on the local legislation - “Rules for registration, use and allocation of domain space in the Kazakhstan segment of the Internet” approved by the order of the Minister of Communications and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated September 7th, 2010 No. 220.

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.