Etisalat became the first of what will likely be a slew of regional companies to have its domain name registered and approved in Arabic by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
Etisalat's domain approved
Etisalat was yesterday the first of what will likely be a slew of regional companies to have its domain name registered and approved in Arabic by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), the global regulator of web addresses.
Others to follow include Ooredoo (formerly Qtel) and come after the first pan-regional domain name - Shabaka - was approved a few weeks ago.
Icann's top-level domain programme (TLD) plans to move away from .com and .net and introduce domain names in more languages including Arabic, Korean and Japanese to make the web more accessible to non-English speakers.
"These changes are a natural step in the internet's evolution and they will promote the diversity of language and culture and give billions of people a more convenient way to access the web in their native tongues," said Ahmed bin Ali, the group senior vice-president of corporate communications at Etisalat.
"Giving more Arabic speakers access to our websites will help us build relations with communities in some of our operating countries," he added.
Etisalat will now be able to use its brand name in Arabic letters as its TLD - the letters after the final dot of a domain name.
The operator has also applied for the TLD "etisalat" in English, for which the initial evaluation of this application will be released later this year.
"This new programme is the result of many years of policy development and implementation work aimed at increasing diversity, competition and innovation to the domain name system, and applicants such as Etisalat have spent countless hours to prepare," said Fadi Chehadé, the president of Icann.
"The release of the first initial evaluations is an important moment in our programme and marks a milestone in the evolution of the internet."
The evaluation process includes a due diligence review of the applicant's technology, financial resources, management and directors, and its business plans for the TLD.
Almost 2,000 organisations have applied for TLDs. Icann is in the process of approving each of these applications and expects to announce 30 new evaluations each Friday until June.