Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Important European Union development: .eu Top Level Domain Name (euTLD) Coming to the Internet

The .eu internet top level domain (euTLD) name sunrise period is to start this October according to the August 15, 2005 report by Lisbeth Kirk at EUobserver.com.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which provides validation services for EURid (that last link shows that .eu already works), has an official FAQ for .eu domain name questions.

To apply for an .eu domain see here for general instructions and then go to the list of accredited registrars, but note first the following:

During the Sunrise Period:

"Start phase 1 of sunrise
(public bodies and holders of trademarks may apply for the corresponding name)

Start of sunrise + 2 months : Start phase 2 of sunrise period
(those eligible to apply in phase 1 plus holders of other rights recognised in the national law of a member state may apply for the corresponding name)

Start of sunrise + 4 months
Sunrise period closes and registrations open on a first-come-first-served basis. Validation of names applied for during sunrise continues until task completed."


The idea behind the .eu domain is to create a European domain identity in Europe to replace (viz. supplant over time) the currently used .com, .org and .net domains, which are registered in the USA.

The .eu domain will operate under the auspices of the European Commission of the EU (European Union). "EURid, a consortium of Belgian, Italian and Swedish organisations will operate as the .eu registry." EURid was selected by the European Commission and is the body which has made the appropriate agreements with ICANN, the governing body of the internet.

EURid has already accredited 200 registrars throughout Europe to allocate the .eu domains. See here for accreditation.

European Union institutions will ultimately shift their websites to new .eu domains. Currently, websites of institutions of the European Union are found at the .int domain.

Numerous .eu domain name websites are already specifically reserved for European Union bodies:

"In accordance with EU Regulation 733/2002 and EC Regulation 874/2004, some names are blocked from ever being registered and some are reserved for use by the institutions of the EU or the governments of member states, EEA countries and candidate countries."

Such restrictions do not apply to business or private websites. Hence, we definitely expect some fierce legal battles over .eu domain registrations down the road.

Nevertheless, the .eu domain may create more of a "European Union" feeling in Europe than any comparable political or technological move which could otherwise currently be made.

It remains to be seen how the mass of Europeans will adapt to the new .eu top level domain name in terms of both domain registrations as well as surfing behavior.

Cross posted to EUPundit.
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