The internet is all set for the onset of what is seen by many to be the “biggest change” since its invention 40 years ago, according to regulator Icann.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) announced that coming to the conclusion of plans to allow non-Latin characters to be used in website addresses as Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs).
Initially accepted in 2008 , the change will see domain names written in Arabic and other Asian scripts.
The regulatory body revealed that applications would begin to be considered for approval by 16th of November if granted for approval on 30 October.
The president of Icann, Rod Beckstrom, believes that the first IDNs could be in use by “mid 2010.”
Beckstrom continued, “Of the 1.6 billion internet users today worldwide, more than half use languages that have scripts that are not Latin-based.”
“So this change is very much necessary for not only half the world’s internet users today but more than half, probably, of the future users as the internet continues to spread.”
According to Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the board which has been set the duty of reviewing the change, IDN plans were approved in June 2008 but the system has been undergoing rigorous testing for much longer.
Dengate Thrush is pleased with the developments, stating that “you have to appreciate what a fantastically complicated technical feature this is.”
“What we have created is a different translation system.”
The alterations will be applied to the internet’s Domain Name System, which works in a similar way to a phone book, translating web domains names such as google.com into a series of numbers, more commonly known as IP addresses.
The modifications are due to allow this current system to understand and translate non-Latin characters.
Dengate Thrush added, “we are confident that it works because we have been testing it for a couple of years.”
“We’re really ready to start rolling it out.”
In China and Thailand, internet users can already access websites using their own language, as the website owners have used special work around techniques. However, these website addresses don’t work on all computers and are not internationally approved.
The meeting will take place in South Korea and include talks on the introduction of generic Top Level Domains (TLDs), such as .uk or .com.
The organisation allowed a relaxation on the rules regarding TLDs last year so that businesses could use their brand as a website address and individuals could use their names.
The US government founded Icann in 1998 in a big to control regulations on the internet, but has undergone years of criticism, leading to the relaxing of its control over the non-profit body.
Autonomy was provided to Icann when the US government signed an agreement on 1 October.