Nominet, the not for profit company that registers internet addresses ending in .uk, yesterday launched a three-month public consultation on plans to introduce so-called international domain names (IDN).
[…]That would clear the way for websites with addresses which include accents, as in www.café.co.uk, or use entirely different alphabets such as Greek or Arabic.
[..] “We are asking everyone in the UK what they want,” explained Nominet’s head of regulation Edward Phillips. “We have Welsh and Gaelic, which require some additional characters, but when you start looking across the country you realise there is a huge range of languages spoken here. Should we open it up to absolutely everybody?
It’s certainly an interesting idea, and one that I’d support. Internet Explorer is the only maintream browser that doesn’t support IDN yet and that is coming in IE7 due later this year, so by the time these domains become available to register I imagine that a significant number of people will be able to visit these sites.
What’s perhaps most interesting about this story is that it was in the main section of the printed edition of The Guardian today. It even included an inset box (reproduced at the bottom of the article) going in to some detail about what IDN is and mentioning Firefox.