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Overseas businesses may soon be able to register domain names with foreign characters.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is meeting in Puerto Rico this week to discuss allowing characters with accents or in entirely different scripts to be added to the internet system.

Domain names are currently limited to letters in the English alphabet, numbers and a hyphen.

But ICANN members will discuss issues around allowing more characters in to the system - a move which would open the way to Arabic, Greek and Chinese, for example, lettering in domain names.

France, in particular, is likely to be in favour of introducing its accented characters.

AP reports engineers are due to embark on technical tests to ascertain whether such a system would actually work.

Separate discussions are due to be held on regulations governing addition of new domain name suffixes to the internet network.

Previous such debates have heard calls for top-level domin names including .xxx and .post to be created.

A glut of sessions has been tabled for delegates in San Juan, where proceedings began Saturday and will continue to Friday.


Published 26 June, 2007 by Robert Andrews

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