ICANN approves .tel domain

Domain to give companies and individuals a 21st-century equivalent of a phone number, promises proposer.

An Internet regulator has approved the creation of the .tel domain, the company that proposed the domain announced on Monday.

Telnic, which proposed .tel to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 2000, said the domain will give individuals and businesses a naming and navigation structure for Internet communications.

The idea is for people to use .tel as a way of communicating directly with the person or company behind a particular Web site, using technologies such as voice over Internet Protocol, e-mail or Short Message Service (SMS). Telnic used the examples of AdamSmith.tel or Hertz.tel.

"The .tel domain offers the first genuinely different use of domains since .com was first created. It will provide seamless integration of existing methods of communication, with emerging technologies like voice over IP," Telnic's chief executive, Khashayar Mahdavi, said in a statement.

"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. 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," Mahdavi said.

Telnic, whose mission includes developing a text-based naming and navigation system for Internet communications, hopes to start awarding .tel addresses in 2007.

A similar initiative, called ENUM, already exists. It uses an architecture based on the Domain Name System to resolve telephone numbers to domain name addresses.

Last week ICANN rejected the adult-oriented .xxx domain, a move that was welcomed by adult industry insiders but criticized by the European Commission, which accused ICANN of bowing to pressure from the U.S. government.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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