Let this map be your guide as you cruise to a better understanding of the world of IDNs.
Before we start driving we need to figure out where we’re headed first.
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WHAT IS AN IDN?
WHY ARE IDNs IMPORTANT?
HOW DO IDNS WORK?
WHEN WILL IDNS BE AVAILABLE IN THE .CA DOMAIN SPACE?
WHY DID CIRA LAUNCH A CONSULTATION?
HOW WILL CIRA LAUNCH IDNs?
Before we can go further down the road, it’s key to understand what an IDN is. A domain name is a meaningful and easy-to-remember name - like cira.ca - that gets you to the website you’re looking for. Right now, the only characters you can use in a .CA domain name are a-z, 0-9 and hyphens. When a domain name works with any letters beyond the A to Z alphabet, it’s called an Internationalized Domain Name (IDN).
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has developed a plan to add French characters to .CA domain names. This is great news for all Canadians because it means they can now use the .CA domain in Canada’s two official languages, French and English. This is also great news for .CA Registrants and their website visitors because it means that domain names can precisely match names, businesses and trademarks.
Presently no accented letters can be used in .CA domain names – in fact if you were to type préside.ca into your browser, you'd get an error message. They just don't work. CIRA is planning to add the following French language characters to .CA domain names: é, ë, ê, è, â, à, æ, ô, œ, ù, û, ü, ç, î, ï and ÿ. That means you could soon see domain names like préside.ca or grâce.ca. And they'll work like any other domain name, by typing them into your browser or with a search engine.
IDNs are currently scheduled to be made available in early January 2013. Now that the IDN consultation is complete, CIRA has begun to develop the policies for the implementation of IDNs, and the technology required to implement this new offering. CIRA will continue to communicate any developments in the implementation of IDNs via our website and regular electronic communications.
CIRA is working to ensure the introduction of IDNs in the .CA domain space is as smooth as possible.
CIRA conducted a consultation to seek feedback about different possible approaches to implementing IDNs from a broad range of interested stakeholders, including .CA Registrants, our Registrar partners, CIRA Members, Government, and the Canadian public. The feedback we received from the consultation helped us develop our plans for implementing IDNs.
You can get more detail about CIRA's final approach by reviewing our website.