The European Union has given the final go-ahead for the creation of a .eu internet top-level domain. After close to six years of red tape, Brussels-based non-profit EURid absl/vzw suggested the domain could go live within a year.
EURid, which was selected by the European Commission to run .eu in March 2003, said it signed a contract with Fabio Colasanti, the Director General of the European Commission’s Information Society DG in Brussels on Tuesday.
The organization said it will now ask the Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers to add .eu to the internet’s root domain name system servers, and anticipates it could commence registrations six to nine months from now.
EURid said it will be looking for a speedy conclusion to negotiations with ICANN, so it can get the .eu up and running in nine months. Once live, there would be a four-month sunrise period during which trademark holders could reserve their domains.
The EU has been talking about .eu since at least 1998, but the go-live date retreated into the future as the EC first had to adopt regulations, the Parliament had to adopt legislation, an operator had to be found, and policies created.
The EUObserver reported last week that the most recent delay, which prevented .eu going live last year as planned, was disagreement between EU member states over the public policy issues related to the domain.
Now that EURid has essentially now got the go-ahead to launch the domain in Europe, and only has to get approval from the US-based powers-that-be that control the DNS root, namely the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, a function of ICANN.
IANA/ICANN has had the policy framework in place to allow it to approve .eu as a country-code top-level domain (ccTLD), despite the fact that the EU is not technically a country, for a little over four years.
IANA rules originally said it would only add a ccTLD to the root if that code was already present in a database known as ISO 3166, a list of two- and three-letter country codes maintained by the International Standards Organization.
In September 2000 the 3166 Maintenance Agency declined to put EU on the list, but instead reserved it for possible future use. ICANN changed its IANA policy two weeks later to also permit reserved codes as ccTLDs, specifically to enable .eu.
EURid is a joint venture of the Belgian, Italian and Swedish ccTLD operators, DNS Belgium vzw/asbl, Istituto di Informatica e Telematica, Network Information Centre Sweden AB. Slovenian and Czech Republic firms are also involved.