[AfrICANN-discuss] South Africa: More Websites, More Problems
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Wed Mar 10 13:31:24 SAST 2010
Africa: Internet set for radical change
9 March 2010
The board of the international body that assigns internet addresses will this Friday vote on key strategic policies that will drive the future of internet.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN board meeting in Nairobi is expected to make a decision on whether or not to adopt the new generic Top Level Domains (gTLD).
The gTLD are words at the end of the internet address such as .or, .org, .com that are not associated with any specific country. Under the proposed arrangement, the numbers of the gTLD’s would be increased to 21 to include every word in any language.
The current address system does not accept languages such as Arabic scripts and the expansion in languages will make internet more accessible.
It will be possible to use characters from, say, Chinese, Arabic and African languages for full internet address, instead of just part of the address.
East African countries needed to expand internet penetration to enhance economic growth, ICANN chief executive officer Rod Beckstrom told the organisation’s 37th session in Nairobi on Monday.
The region boasts two undersea fibre optic cables, Seacom and the East African Marine System (TEAMS) – and a third one, code-named EASSy, expected to land in June – but prices have not come down enough to stimulate a boom.
“I would like to throw down the gauntlet to invite Igad (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) heads of State to join us here and use the internet to help all their people,” said Mr Beckstrom.
“It’s a small step for them and yet it would be a huge leap forward for the future of their countries.”
The Igad, now meeting in Nairobi, is made up of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.
It was created in 1986 to combat the devastating effects of severe East African drought.
“A new drought has emerged in much of the same region,” said Mr Beckstrom, “an internet-access drought, compared to other parts of the world.”
Africa’s young generation is embracing the internet, he said.
According to ICANN figures, 77 per cent of Kenyans want to spend more time online, while 63 per cent crave better access to the internet.
Source : Daily nation
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