Bogotá ICANN Forum Underscores Internet Developments, Reveals Fundamental Changes Coming. Avianca First To Adopt gTLD
The Internet Corporation For assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has concluded its inaugural forum on September 28 in Bogotá, held to address topics related to the Domain Name System, internet infrastructure, and the new gTLD program. The LAC-i-Roadshow is part of the regional strategic plan developed by the different stakeholder groups represented at ICANN from the LAC (Latin America/Caribbean) region designed to raise awareness across the region on key topics related to the DNS critical infrastructure such as the impact of the new gTLD Program and the transition to IPv6.
The Domain Name System is the regime that the ICANN manages on behalf of all internet users, and controls the suffixes at the end of every domain address, such as .com, .org, .net, .co, etc. The technology and capacity of the Internet has increased to the point that the routers and switches that handle backbone and node internet traffic can now easily process more and complex domain names.
A key topic for the group is the continuing evolution from IPv4 to IPv6. IP stands for Internet Protocol and is the system of addresses for computers connected to the Internet, or any IP network, for that matter. IPv4 (Version 4) addresses are a series of four 8-bit numbers, giving a 32 bit addressing range of 0-255 for each segment. Thus, the addresses one sometimes sees in a web browser or in computer configuration might look something like 18.104.22.168 (that particular address is actually a standard default address that consumer IP products are initially set to).
The new IPv6 addressing scheme, already in use, albeit not universally, switches to a hexadecimal, 128 bit addressing system, increasing the number of internet addresses from 4.3 billion, to an almost incomprehensible 3.4×1038 addresses. This is critical for the coming Internet of Things (IoT), which expects billions of devices, far beyond computers and smartphones, to be connected to the Internet.
Out of Colombia’s population of 47 million, there are approximately 11 million Internet users.
“So actually for the LAC-i Roadshow, this is our second year of exhibition. We are divided into four sub-regions; one for the Caribbean, another one for Mexico and Central America, the other one for South America (except the Andes region) and this one for the Andean Region. We are partnering with many different organizations in Colombia and the region,” said Rodrigo de la Parra, in a conversation with Finance Colombia. To ensure a well-distributed set of events there are four editions of the LAC-i-Roadshow per year: The Caribbean; Andean Region, Mexico and Central America and South America. Each event is led by local champions and based on subjects complementing their expertise with other experts from the region when appropriate. This is the first time the event has been held in Bogotá.
The New Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)
ICANN’s new gTLD Program is tasked with rolling out new generic top level domains, the letters immediately following the final dot in an internet address. This creates the largest new expansion of the Domain Name System since the creation of the Internet. Hundreds of new domain names have been released, including 24 from Latin America, including one from Aerovias del Continente Americano S.A. Avianca for “.AVIANCA” —This means that Avianca for example, can now offer internet addresses such as flights.avianca, instead of flights.avianca.co. Another way to look at it, is that instead of the .com or .org suffix, .avianca becomes the suffix.
- gTLDs bring significant change and new possibilities. They allow companies, brands, cities and entrepreneurs with new ideas to own and manage a piece of the Internet’s infrastructure, for the benefit of end users. They also enhance competition in the domain industry and have significant potential as platform for innovation.
- The current gTLD expansion is underway with more than 740 new gTLDs “live” in the Internet and with more coming online every week… ICANN has said that it is committed to opening a subsequent round of applications as quickly as possible.
- The program allows communities, governments, companies and brands to request to operate of top-level domain. Operating a TLD is a responsibility that requires a major commitment. Basically, the operator becomes the guardian of an important part of the main Internet infrastructure. For this reason, ICANN established a rigorous process for those wishing to apply for a new gTLD.
- It’s not too early for Latin American companies, organizations, entrepreneurs and others who did not apply for a new gTLD in the first round to start thinking about the potential benefits and opportunities that a gTLD may afford them.
- ICANN is focused on facilitating the development of the domain name industry in Latin America, with the aim of enabling, choice, competition and innovation.
“Colombia is a regional internet leader, has nearly 11 million internet users, and is a critical market for this discussion,” said de la Parra. “The goal of the forum is to bring awareness to the expansion of the Internet, through the new gTLD Program, and discuss the enhanced competition, innovation, and consumer choice it provides, not only in Colombia, but worldwide.”
At this point, there is no announced date for the next round of gTLD applications but it is unlikely to occur before 2016 at the earliest.