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State governments move to secure .sydney, .melbourne domains

ICANN opening up applications for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) in less than three months

The NSW and Victorian governments have moved to begin securing new generic Top Level internet Domains (gTLD) including .sydney, .melbourne and.victoria ahead of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) opening up applications in less than three months' time.

According to NSW Department of Finance and Services documents, the state government said both it and the Victorian government viewed the .sydney, .melbourne and .victoria -- and potentially .NSW -- domains as "key digital assets" to be secured for use by respective government agencies and their communities.

"NSW and Victoria consider that there are benefits to the acquisition of these TLDs. Those benefits include (but are not limited to) the development of a unique domain name address for local businesses and citizens; more obvious branding and easier to recall domain name addresses; possibilities for innovation in the various domain name addresses," the documents read.

In light of this, the NSW Department of Finance and Services will oversee the development of an application to ICANN for the domains, and will also appoint an experienced registry operator to assist it applying to ICANN.

If successful in its application for the TLDs, the state governments will also appoint the registry operator to establish, operate, maintain and market the TLDs on a self-funded commercial basis for a period of five years.

The NSW and Victorian Governments will meet all ICANN application costs including the initial US$185,000 'Evaluation Fee'.

In the ICANN's [[xref: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/rfp-clean-19sep11-en.pdf| 352-page gTLD Application Guidebook| (PDF) the organisation says the gTLD program is the result of thousands of hours of work and will usher in a vast change to the Internet's domain name system (DNS).

"We expect the program to bring benefits to language and other communities, provide opportunities for innovation, and introduce new protections for users and rights holders," the guide reads.

"The new gTLD program will open up the top level of the Internet's namespace to foster diversity, encourage competition, and enhance the utility of the DNS."

In September ICANN began accepting registrations on a limited basis for XXX domains.

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