Byron Holland is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). View bio
At the ICANN meeting In Seoul in October 2009, ICANN announced one of the most significant changes to the Internet in its 40 year history. By approving the use of new extensions containing non-Latin characters, ICANN not only opened the Internet up to millions, perhaps billions, of users worldwide, they also reinforced the idea that the Internet is truly a global resource. It means that people can access it in their national language, even if that language uses non-Latin characters, like Greek, Hindi, Arabic, Russian, Korean, or a host of many others.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the Internet is truly becoming a resource for all of us, regardless of place of residence or the language we speak. This is important for Canadians. Canada is a multicultural country. We are one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world. Half of the population of our largest city, Toronto, were born outside of Canada. Statistics Canada estimates that by 2017, that there will be 1.8 million people of Chinese descent in Canada.
ICANN put together a great video about IDNs, and what this decision means. One line from the video that resonates for me is, “it’s one step at making the Internet equally accessible for everyone.” You can find it here.
I think ICANN’s decision is a step forward in advancing the Internet as being accessible to all. What do you think?