Delegation of the المغرب. (“al-Maghrib”) domain representing Morocco in Arabic

ICANN has received a request to delegate the المغرب domain, a country-code top-level domain representing Morocco, to Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications (ANRT). ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.

Factual Information


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


The domain under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level is “المغرب”.This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the IDNA specification as “xn--mgbc0a9azcg”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0627 U+0644 U+0645 U+063A U+0631 U+0628.

In Arabic language, the string has a meaning equivalent to “Morocco” in English. Its pronunciation in English is transliterated as “al-Maghrib”. The string is expressed using the Arabic script.

Chronology of events

In February 1998, ANRT was created as a publicly-owned entity “with incorporated status and financial autonomy” under the authority of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Moroccan Telecommunication Law No. 24-96 “that reorganised the telecommunication sector in Morocco”.

In May 2006, ANRT applied for a redelegation of .MA ASCII country code top-level domain. The application was approved by the ICANN Board of Directors in the summer 2006.

In 2007 the Moroccan Telecommunication Law No. 24-96 was amended by the Law No. 29-06 to “attribute to ANRT the mission of managing “.ma” ccTLD for the public interest”.

On 10 December 2007 ANRT joined the “Arabic domain names pilot project” during which “some experimental Arabic domain names under “المغرب” were created and tested”. The participation in this project allowed ANRT “to gain a good practical experience related to IDN domain names”.

On 8 September 2010 an application was made to the “IDN Fast Track” process to have the string “المغرب” recognised as representing Morocco. The request was supported by two Ministries, the Moroccan Federation of Information Technologies, Telecommunications and offshoring (APEBI), Moroccan Internet Society (MISOC) and two global telecommunications operators in Morocco.

On 23 October 2010, review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that "the applied-for strings ... present none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS identified in [the IDN Fast Track implementation plan] ... and present an acceptably low risk of user confusion". The request for the string to represent the Morocco was subsequently approved.

On 31 December 2010, the ANRT commenced a request to ICANN for delegation of “المغرب” 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 Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications, a publicly-owned entity established in February 1998 under the authority of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Moroccan Telecommunication Law No. 24-96 in Morocco. ANRT is the current operator of the .MA ASCII country code top-level domain.

The proposed administrative and technical contact is Azdine El Mountassir Billah, the Director General of Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications. The administrative contact is understood to be based in Morocco.

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

Public Interest

The applicant states that ANRT “has been solicited by high government officials to enter in the process in order to have the delegation of the Moroccan ccTLD “المغرب”.

Explicit government support for the application was provided in letters from Abbas El Fassi, the Prime Minister of the Moroccan government, and two Ministries: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation and Ministry of Industry, Trade and New Technologies.

Additional support was stated in the letters from the Moroccan Federation of Information Technologies, Telecommunications and offshoring (APEBI), Moroccan Internet Society (MISOC) and two global telecommunications operators in Morocco: Itissalat Al-Maghrib and Medi TELECOM.

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

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 Morocco. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in Morocco. 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 satisfactory details 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 .MA ASCII country code top-level domain for Morocco.

No policies for management of the domain have been tendered. However, applicants stated that ANRT is currently working on the registration policies that will underline the main rules to register a المغرب. domain name in “non-discriminatory and transparent” manner. The policies will be based on the current policies exercised for .MA ASCII country code top-level domain. In addition these policies will include guidelines “based essentially on the RFC 5564”.

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:

  • 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 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.