Almost a year on from the Welsh Government’s endorsement of Nominet’s bids to create a designated space for Wales on the internet, we are closer than ever to securing a trusted digital space for the whole of Welsh society

Nominet operates at the heart of e-commerce in the UK, running one of the world’s largest Internet registries and managing over ten million domain names. They have a long and significant track record in Wales and through the managing the .uk registry. Nominet’s experience and capability persuaded the Welsh Government that they were the right people to create domains for Wales -.cymru. and .wales. Nominet believes that the new top level domains will help to create a vibrant and trusted online home for Wales.

The bids for .cymru and .wales are currently with ICANN, the international body which regulates such designations on the internet. These applications are part of a process which will see a huge transformation in TLDs. In total, ICANN has received more than 1,900 applications and .cymru and .wales are two of 67 designated geographical names applied for.

Just before Christmas, ICANN announced the way in which these hundreds of bids would be prioritised. They held a raffle process in San Francisco to decide the order that they will deal with the applications for new domain name endings including .cymru and .wales. This process saw .cymru drawn at 244 and .wales drawn at 807. This means that the applications are likely to be processed during the summer and autumn of 2013 with the first domain names being made available as part of a launch in early 2014.

To make sure that the domains can fulfil their potential for Wales, it’s important to gather views on some important aspects of the plans.  That’s why Nominet is currently conducting a public consultation covering a whole range of issues about how the new domains should work such as:

•           Whether there should be any link between the .cymru and .wales domain names and if so, how such a connection might operate.

•           Whether there should be any restrictions on who can register a .cymru or .wales domain.

•           The approach to managing domain names in Welsh.

•           Proposals for the launch of the new domain name spaces, including the approach to trade marks and other rights.

All of these are important practical considerations in maximising the economic benefit for Wales and Welsh businesses from creating these new domains.

Many people will want to have their say on how the new domains will work and Nominet is genuinely interested in receiving feedback. The consultation is a real opportunity for the Welsh community to tell Nominet how they want the domains to work and remains open until 28 February 2013. The full consultation document is available at www.domainforwales.org.uk.