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New net domain names could go live by 2005

New domain names, including xxx for pornographic sites and mobi for phones, could go live as early as 2005, according to a report by BBC Online.

Ten organisations have paid $45,000 a piece to apply to Icann - the organisation that oversees the net's addressing and naming system - for permission to create nine new net domain names.

The possible new domains include .asia, .cat, .jobs, .mail, .mobi, .post, .tel, .travel and the controversial .xxx, which is the cyber equivalent of creating a red-light district, and has already been suggested and rejected several times before now.

The net's first generic top-level domains - .com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net and .org - date from the 1980s. Plus, there are over 240 two-letter domains for countries and territories worldwide.

If approved, the new domains should be active by early 2005 and will be the first added to the net since 2000 when seven novel top level domains - .biz, .info, .name, .pro, .aero, .coop and .museum - were set up.

However, to win approval, the proposals must go through a public comment period when concerned net users will have a month to comment on the suggested domains.

And following this, the proposals will be scrutinised by independent experts for two months.

A potential stumbling block is the fact that all the new domains proposed to Icann will be sponsored, yet three of them are pitching for the same job – namely, creating a net name space for mobile phones.

The proposal with the biggest backing is currently the .mobi domain, which has the backing of Nokia, Samsung, Microsoft and the GSM Association.

Two other concerns are independently proposing a .tel domain that will do the same job.

Sources: BBC Online, Zenith Media

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