"So long as the basic underlying structural principles of the Internet's DNS (domain name system) are preserved, we regard efforts to internationalize the DNS as positive," ICANN official Andrew McLaughlin told Newsbytes today.
ICANN - the not-for-profit company charged with managing the DNS - reacted cautiously Friday to Network Solutions' announcement that it would begin accrediting Internet registrars to sell .com domain names that use foreign characters.
But while ICANN intends to "monitor closely the implementation of non- English language character sets" in the DNS, according to a statement released Friday, the organization does not intend to stand in the way of Network Solutions' proposal.
Late last week, Network Solutions - the world's largest domain-name seller and the steward of the critical .com registry - announced that it would open a "test bed" period for other Internet registrars to begin registering names using Japanese, Korean and Chinese characters.
Currently Internet users can only register names using digits and English- language characters - an unfortunate circumstance for much of the world's population, Network Solutions spokesperson Brian O'Shaughnessy said today.
"The bottom line is that 90 percent of the world doesn't speak English as the local language," O'Shaughnessy, said.
The test bed period launched last week by Network Solutions is intended to give registrars an opportunity to test several different technological approaches for converting foreign-character domain names into character strings that can be recognized and resolved by the DNS.
During that period, ICANN will be watching closely to make sure that those technological developments do not jeopardize the stability of the Internet, according to Friday's ICANN statement.