Introduction of IDNs in Omani domain name space


The Omani domain name registry, run by the Omani Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), has announced that it had signed an agreement with ARI Registry Services (formerly AusRegistry International) to establish a domain name registration system for the country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) for Oman, namely ‘.om’ and ‘.عمان’ (the ccTLD for Oman in the Arabic script). This will allow internet users to register domain names in both English and Arabic.

The purpose of the new system (which should be operational within nine months) is to provide added stability and growth on the internet within Oman and the greater Gulf region. All domain name registrations will be handled by accredited registrars, who will in turn interact with the new domain name registration system. Perhaps more importantly, the TRA is also seeking to promote and enhance the registration and use of domain names under both ‘.om’ and ‘.عمان’.

The Sultanate of Oman obtained approval from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 2011 to offer the registration of domain names under ‘.عمان’, thus allowing for the registration of internationalised domain names (IDNs) entirely in Arabic. The ‘.عمان’ string is currently listed on the ICANN website as "pending delegation" and so will no doubt shortly be delegated into the root.

The introduction of IDNs in the Omani domain name space should provide users with greater access to Arabic content on the internet and allow users to have a more positive interaction with the internet, as they will be able to surf the internet in their native language.

It will be interesting to see the progress of domain names and the internet in Oman following these new developments. One thing that is certain is that IDNs under ‘.عمان’ are set to join the increasing number of IDNs being made available in the global domain name space.

There are currently local presence requirements for Omani domain names.

David Taylor and Tony Vitali, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris

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