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Internationalised Domain Names key to multilingualism online

24 Oct. 2012

Brussels, 24 September 2012 - Internationalised Domain Names are a vital part of the ecosystem necessary to foster the growth of local languages online, according to the EURid-UNESCO World Report on Internationalised Domain Names, an abstract of which is featured in the latest report by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, The State of Broadband 2012: Achieving Digital Inclusion for All, published on 23 September 2012.

Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) are domain names consisting of characters from non-Latin scripts, such as Cyrillic or Greek.

Online multilingualism, as well as the capacities of communities to create and share content in their local languages, are important drivers of the use of broadband infrastructure by the local population, which in turn will increase access to linguistically and culturally diverse content and provide new socio-economic development opportunities.

The uptake of IDNs worldwide has been lagging however. The EURid-UNESCO World Report on IDNs, which will be presented at the next Internet Governance Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan, reviews the general challenges to achieving universality for IDNs. It states that the technologies in place for using IDNs do not always provide a consistent and satisfactory experience for Internet users in several countries. The World Report lists a number of challenges that have to be overcome before full IDN uptake can be realised.

The 2012 World Report on IDNs explores the disparity in IDN deployment and concludes that language, culture and infrastructure factors on the one hand, and ccTLD factors on the other, particularly the presence of a local registrar base, combine to impact IDN take up in certain regions. The Report invites all interested parties to further cooperate in building a truly multilingual Internet.