ICANN – the authority entrusted with an international mandate to define the policies relating to domain names on the Internet – has confirmed the launch of the liberalization of the gTLD namespace. Numerous projects involving new gTLDs can now be submitted as part of the application and assessment process managed by ICANN. Applications must be filed between 12 January and 12 April 2012.
They will then be assessed by ICANN with the publication of the list of declared candidates at the end of April 2012 and the publication of the results of initial assessment in November 2012 before an operational launch of new gTLDs 12 months later (i.e. year-end 2013). Known gTLD projects include cities, regions and cultural communities (such as .paris, .aquitaine or .bzh), brand names (.canon) or centres of interest (.shop, .bank etc.). Although the expected number of new gTLDs is difficult to estimate with any accuracy, ICANN is preparing to receive some 500 applications.
As the provider of technical solutions and services for registry operators, AFNIC welcomes the launch of the new gTLD process. It will enable AFNIC to assist new project sponsors as well as continue the preparatory work already undertaken with declared candidates such as .paris. In September 2009, Paris City Hall decided to rely on the expertise of the AFNIC / CORE Franco-Swiss group for its technical assistance in the .paris project. 1 Top Level Domain or extension.
There are two types of TLD: country code TLDs (ccTLD) such as .fr, and generic TLDs (gTLD) such as .com. Among the TLDs in existence today on the Internet there are 274 ccTLDs, and 21 gTLDs.
Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.
In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, has committed to devoting 11% of its Revenues from managing .fr Top Level Domain to actions of general interest, in particular by transferring €1.3 million each year to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity.
Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.
Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has nearly 90 employees.