Report on the Delegation of the امارات. (“Emarat”) domain representing United Arab Emirates toTRA & Emirates Internet Group
ICANN has received a request to delegate the امارات. as a country-code top-level domain representing United Arab Emirates, to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.
The “AE” ISO 3166-1 code, from which this application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent United Arab Emirates, a country located in the Arabic Peninsula with a population of approximately five million people.
The domain under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level is “امارات”. This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the 2003 IDNA specification as “xn--mgbaam7a8h”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0627 U+0645 U+0627 U+0631 U+0627 U+062A.
In Arabic language, the string has a meaning equivalent to “Emirates” in English. Its pronunciation in English is transliterated as “Emarat”. The string is expressed using the Arabic script.
Chronology of events
In light of ICANN’s initiatives to allow for internationalised country code top-level domains, the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority conducted a consultation process in 2009, in order to identify the appropriate string to select as an IDN ccTLD to represent the United Arab Emirates. Participants in the consultation process were the regulatory authority, the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs representing the UAE Government, Emirates Internet Group representing the local user community, and two Internet providers Etisalat and du.
The consultation sought responses on how the domain should be run, and who the registry operator should be, considering key aspects of neutrality, technology, policy, financial sustainability, promotion of the TLD, continuous development and experience. The consensus, and conclusion of the consultation, was that the new domain should be operated in a similar fashion as the .AE domain, by the same operator.
In November 2009, an application was made to the new “IDN Fast Track” process to have the string “امارات” recognised as representing the United Arab Emirates. The request was supported by the Government of the United Arab Emirates, with additional community support from the Emirates Internet Group, Etisalat, du, the UAE University, and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
On 6 January 2010, review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that “the applied-for string and declared variants associated with the application from [the United Arab Emirates] (a) present none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS ... and (b) present an acceptably low risk of user confusion”. The request for the string to represent the United Arab Emirates was subsequently approved.
On 21 January 2010, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority presented an application to ICANN for delegation of “امارات” as a top-level domain.
Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts
The proposed sponsoring organisation is the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, a federal governmental authority in the United Arab Emirates.
The proposed administrative contact is Mohammed Gheyath, Executive Director of Technology Development Affairs at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. The administrative contact is understood to be based in the United Arab Emirates.
The proposed technical contact is Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director of .ae Domain Administration.
Evaluation of the Request
The top-level domain “امارات” is eligible for delegation under ICANN policy, as the string has been deemed an appropriate representation of the country United Arab Emirates through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and the country United Arab Emirates is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.
The Government of the United Arab Emirates is in support of this application, by resolution of the Ministerial Council for Services number 54/5 of 2009, reported by Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Selection of the proposed sponsoring organisation was the outcome of a consultation performed by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, which concluded arrangements for the proposed delegation be the same as for the .AE domain, which was delegated the current arrangement in 2007. ICANN has received letters of support from Etisalat and du, two significant telecommunications providers in the country; and the Emirates Internet Group, the local chapter of ISOC.
The application is consistent with known applicable local laws in the United Arab Emirates.
The proposed sponsoring organisation undertakes to continue to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner, using the same policies used for the “.AE” domain today that is published on its website.
Based in country
The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in the United Arab Emirates. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in United Arab Emirates. The registry is to be operated in the country.
This 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 proposed sponsoring organisation is the current registry for the “.AE” domain. The applicant has provided detail on the operational capacity of the registry to operate the new domain, and has satisfactory registry operational and technical expertise through their existing registry operations.
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 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.