ICANN Dials up .tel TLD

New domain is meant to help simplify company contact info, but questions are once again raised about ICANN's place in the process.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted May 17, 2006
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Most people have lots of different contact methods or telephone numbers. The Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted to make them easier to handle with the approval of a new top-level domain (TLD).

According to minutes from last week's ICANN board of directors' meeting, the group approved the .tel, which will provide a DNS (define)-type approach to resolving the problem of multiple modes of contact.

London-based Telnic will administer the domain.

The promise of .tel is that users will no longer have to use a a numeric address to contact someone.

They'll be able to reach someone by typing in "companyname.tel," which will then connect them to the company through a variety of means, including traditional telephony, VoIP, e-mail or instant messaging.

"The days of needing to remember several telephone numbers, numerous VoIP or instant message identities and other points of contact for our social and professional networks are over," Khashayar Mahdavi, CEO of Telnic, said in a statement.

"By leveraging innovative DNS (Domain Name System) technology, the .tel domain will allow anyone to publish and control, in real time, how they can be reached."

Although the board voted unanimously in favor of approving the .tel domain, board member Susan Crawford did raise a few concerns about ICANN's role in the process.

"I want to note that the .tel application does raise substantial concerns about the merits of continuing to believe that ICANN has the ability to choose who should sponsor a particular domain or, indeed, that sponsorship is a meaningful concept in a diverse world," Crawford said in the meeting notes. "And I hope that we will explore this question in the future."

Article courtesy of internetnews.com

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