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ICANN has given IANA
permission to delegate
the .EU TLD

from TBTF Log, 2000-09-24

TBTF Irregular Ant Brooks <ant at hivemind dot net>, dedicated participant in the community of country-code top-level domains, sent this note parsing the impenetrable language of a recent ICANN resolution.
At its September 25 meeting [1], the ICANN Board of Directors adopted (amongst others), the following resolution:

It is therefore RESOLVED [00.74] that the IANA staff is advised that alpha-2 codes not on the ISO 3166-1 list are delegable as ccTLDs only in cases where the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency, on its exceptional reservation list, has issued a reservation of the code that covers any application of ISO 3166-1 that needs a coded representation in the name of the country, territory, or area involved;

This paragraph is astonishingly meaningless to the casual reader, but it is effectively ICANN giving IANA permission to delegate the .EU top-level domain. To understand why, a little background on the derivation of ccTLDs is useful.

The ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency [2] maintains the ISO 3166 standard. There are three parts to this standard [3]: ISO 3166-1, ISO 3166-2 and ISO 3166-3. Of relevance to the ccTLD community is the ISO 3166-1 standard which establishes codes for the current names of countries.

The ISO 3166-1 standard includes several alphanumeric codes, including the Alpha-2 codes -- two letter codes for countries and dependent areas of countries. Almost all ccTLDs are based on the ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 codes [4]. Exceptions include:

In addition to the standard Alpha-2 codes, the Maintainence Agency has a list of "reserved code elements" [5]. Codes are placed in the reserve code list for three reasons: The ICANN resolution appears to be saying that additional Alpha-2 codes may only be delegated when they exist for the third reason, i.e. if the codes are required for a specific application. In actual fact, the resolution is narrower still. ICANN's Andrew McLaughlin provided the following clarification:

The resolution is intended to be quite narrow. It applies only to codes that are expressly designated by the ISO 3166/MA as approved for all uses, including Internet uses. The only alpha-2 code currently in that category is EU, and it is our understanding that the ISO 3166/MA only makes such designation quite rarely.

So the primary reason for the ICANN resolution is to deal with the tricky issue of the .EU top-level domain. Prior to this resolution, it was not clear if IANA had the authority to delegate codes not appearing in the main Alpha-2 code list. Subsequent to the Board's resolution, IANA now has a mandate to delegate the .EU domain to some third party.

In effect, ICANN resolution [00.74] can be translated into English as:

ICANN has given IANA permission to delegate the .EU TLD.


[1] http://www.icann.org/minutes/prelim-report-25sep00.htm
[2] http://www.din.de/gremien/nas/nabd/iso3166ma/index.html
[3] http://www.din.de/gremien/nas/nabd/iso3166ma/a3ptnorm.html
[4] http://www.din.de/gremien/nas/nabd/iso3166ma/codlstp1/index.html
[5] http://www.din.de/gremien/nas/nabd/iso3166ma/reserved.html

[ TBTF Log, 2000-09-24 ]

Created 2000-09-24