Wales domains to accept registrations from September, with aim of boosting Welsh economy and identity
Wales is set to get two country-specific domain names alter this year, with confirmation that the first registrations for ‘.wales’ and ‘.cymru’ will open in September.
ICANN has given its blessing to the two generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), which it is hoped will not only create a space on the Internet that is “truly Welsh”, including easier identification of Welsh-language content with the ‘.cymru’ domain, but also support ‘brand Wales’ by boosting recognition overseas, attracting investment and growing the Welsh economy.
The initiative has the backing of First Minister Carwyn Jones and members of the Welsh Assembly from all parties, while supporters claim there has been an “incredible” level of support from businesses, organisations and consumers across Wales. The first ‘.London’ domains went live last month, while Scotland will also get its own ’.scot’ domain name.
Welsh domain names
“Over the past two years we have worked with Welsh businesses and organisations to create an opportunity to brand Wales online and to strengthen the visibility and use of the Welsh language on the internet,” says Ieuan Evans, Chair of the Nominet Welsh Advisory Group. “The execution of the .cymru and .wales contracts has made this dream a reality. 2014 is the year that we take Wales into the digital future.”
Nominet will oversee the registration process, which will start by allowing those with a registered trademark able to apply from September. The next phase will allow organisations with a proven business or interest in Wales to register, while the domains will be available to all interested parties from 1 March 2015.
“We are delighted that after two years in the planning .cymru and .wales have got the green light,” says Antonia Seymour, chief commercial officer of Nominet. “Now we are through to this stage, launch planning begins in earnest – this is a big opportunity for Wales to define its space on the internet and maximise the distinct identity of the country in both languages.”
The launch is the latest development in Wales’ digital economy. More than 100,000 additional homes and businesses in the country can now access fibre broadband thanks to the government-backed Superfast Cymru project, while the Welsh language was recently added by Microsoft to Office and Bing translate.
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