ICANN (icann.org), the international organisation responsible for managing and coordinating the internet’s Domain Name System is meeting in Kuala Lumpur 19-24 July, amidst reports that Internet usage in Asia is growing at an increasing pace, and that ICANN’s model of public-private partnership is succeeding.
The current ICANN meeting follows closely upon the release of an OECD report concluding that “ICANN’s reform of the market structure for the registration of generic Top Level Domain names has been very successful, claims ICANN. The division between registry and registrar functions has created a competitive market that has lowered prices and encouraged innovation. The initial experience with competition at the registry level, in association with a successful process to introduce new gTLDs, has also shown positive results.”
According to ICANN, Internet usage across Asia has been bolstered by the continued uptake of broadband, including satellite broadband. By the end of 2003, the total number of broadband connections worldwide had exceeded 100 million, with Asia accounting for 44 percent of this total. Satellite broadband provides increased access to the Internet even in those areas not accessible by traditional infrastructure. Should Internet usage across Asia continue to grow at its current rate, it is likely that the region will account for the majority of Internet users worldwide within the next few years. The impact on business growth and innovation across the region will be tremendous.
Today, over 63 million domain names have been registered worldwide with new registrations hitting an all-time-high during the first quarter of 2004, many using Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD’s). Uptake of ccTLD’s accounts for 40 per cent of domain names currently registered worldwide. Growth of the gTLD market is also reaching new heights. Nowhere is this growth more apparent than in Asia. ICANN looks forward to holding its public meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, one of Asia’s industry and technology leaders.