Following the ALAC Statement to advise for the Prioritization of IDN gTLD Applications in the New gTLD Program, APRALO would like to express our explicit support for such prioritization.
Drawing from the discussions at the recent APrIGF (http://2012.rigf.asia/session-c1-the-impact-of-new-gtld/ -- http://2012.rigf.asia/wp-content/uploads/18-July-2012-APrIGF-1630-Room-17606-Session-B1.doc), the APRALO strongly believes that the lack of number of IDN gTLD applications should not be interpreted as a lack of interest by users (or lack of "market demand"), but rather, that market forces alone is not enough to support the development of IDN gTLDs.
IDN, including IDN gTLDs, has been a priority for the Internet users of the Asia Pacific region since the popularization of the Internet. The advent of IDN gTLDs allow native language users to navigate the Internet using their own language. This is especially important for the next billion users who will come online. Unfortunately, they are not represented, because they are not yet connected. Furthermore, these Internet users (and future Internet users) do not directly mean "registrants" and they are not demanding the registration of IDNs but the usage of them. Therefore, they do not translate into "business" for the industry. This appears to be an indication of market failure, where user demands cannot be met with industry supply because of the marketability and monetization value of the service/product.
Therefore, the APRALO believes that specific policy support for IDNs from ICANN should be pursued:
- To prioritize the processing of IDN gTLD applications not only just in this first round but for subsequent rounds as well;
- Financial support and assistance be also prioritized for IDN gTLD development and related activities;
- Prioritize the completion and implementation of critical and relevant policies for IDN TLDs, including IDN variant TLDs, similar TLD strings issues pertaining IDN TLDs, single character IDN TLDs, Internationalized Registration Data (WHOIS), etc.; and,
- Take the lead in coordinating with the industry to promote the universal acceptance of IDN TLDs, including their use in email addresses and other Internet applications and services.