Report on the Delegation of the .ελ (“el”) domain representing Greece in Greek script to ICS-FORTH GR

5 October 2015

This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function between the United States Government and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Under that contract, ICANN performs the “IANA functions”, which include receiving delegation and redelegation requests concerning TLDs, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, making its recommendations, and reporting actions undertaken in connection with processing such requests.

Factual Information


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


The domain under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level is “ελ”. This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--qxam”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+03B5 U+03BB.

In Greek, the string has a transliteration equivalent to “el” in English. The string is expressed using the Greek script.

Chronology of events

In 1987, The Institute of Computer Science (ICS-FORTH GR) was established by Presidential Decree 432 as a non-profit organization. It is one of the six institutes of the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH) and is supervised by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs.

ICS-FORTH GR has operated the .GR ccTLD since 1989.

In June 2005, the Greek government organized an event for the Greek Internet community, namely registrars; service provides and end users to discuss the proposed implementation of Greek domain names. This event was also used to survey participants about their preference for the Greek ccTLD IDN label.

Several events took place in the following years involving the Greek government, the Regulator (Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission - EETT) and the .GR registry operator to facilitate the process for Greek IDN ccTLD fast track application.

In 2010, an application was made to the “IDN Fast Track” process to have the string “ελ” recognized as representing Greece.

The string was initially rejected by the IDN ccTLD Fast Track DNS Stability Panel. However, in October 2014, a second review panel called the Extended Process Similarity Review Panel (EPSRP) found that “the candidate string is not confusingly similar to any ISO 3166-1 entries”.

On 4 May 2015, ICANN announced that the proposed IDN ccTLD string for Greece successfully passed the string evaluation.

On 9 June 2015, ICS-FORTH GR commenced a request to ICANN for delegation of “ελ” as a top-level domain.

Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts

The proposed sponsoring organisation is ICS-FORTH GR, an entity established in 1987 by Presidential Decree 432 as a non-profit research organization.

The proposed administrative and technical contact is Vaggelis Segredakis, Administrator of the .GR Top Level Domain at ICS-FORTH GR. He is understood to be based in Greece.

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 Greece through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and Greece is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.

Public Interest

Explicit government support for the application was provided in a letter signed by George Anastasopoulos, Secretary General for Communications, Ministry of Transport & Communications of Greece.

Under Greek law, the telecommunications sector Regulator (the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission - EETT) is "the responsible authority for the regulation of issues of the domain names under .gr and under any other domain or subdomain is assigned to Greece." The Regulatory (EETT) assigns the operator of the registry through a public tender process every five years. ICS-FORTH-GR was the winner of the last public tender. As such ICS-FORTH-GR continues to be the registry operator and technical coordinator of ".gr" and will have the same role for ".ελ".

As several years passed since the start of the “DN Fast Track” process to have the string “ελ” recognized as representing Greece, the Greek representative to the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) confirmed that all the Government and all community support for the Greek IDN ccTLD are still valid.

The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in Greece. 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 Greece. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Greece. The registry is to be operated in the country.


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.


The application has provided information on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the proposed new domain. The proposed operator is the current manager of .GR country-code top-level domain for Greece.

The proposed operator is selected through a public tender process. The operator has to meet the legal and technical requirements according to the specifications of the tender. The Regulator (EETT) issues the "Regulation on Management and Assignment of .GR domain names", which describes the procedures, tasks and responsibilities of the operator.

Proposed policies for management of the domain have also been tendered.

Evaluation Procedure

ICANN is tasked with coordinating the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with the U.S. Government. This includes accepting and evaluating requests for delegation and redelegation 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 (ccTLDs), and are assigned by ICANN to responsible trustees (known as “Sponsoring Organisations”) that meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the trustee has from its local Internet community, its capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and its applicability under any relevant local laws.

Through ICANN’s IANA department, requests are received for delegating new ccTLDs, and redelegating or revoking existing ccTLDs. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, when appropriate, the requests are implemented and a recommendation for delegation or redelegation is made to the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Purpose of evaluations

The evaluation of eligibility for ccTLDs, 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.

In considering requests to delegate or redelegate ccTLDs, 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:

  • The domain should be operated within the country, including having its sponsoring organisation and administrative contact based in the country.
  • The domain should be operated in a way that is fair and equitable to all groups in the local Internet community.
  • Significantly interested parties in the domain should agree that the prospective trustee is the appropriate party to be responsible for the domain, with the desires of the national government taken very seriously.
  • The domain must be operated competently, both technically and operationally. Management of the domain should adhere to relevant technical standards and community best practices.
  • Risks to the stability of the Internet addressing system must be adequately considered and addressed, particularly with regard to how existing identifiers will continue to function.

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 correctly. 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 relevant top-level domain.