ICANN approves .tel domain

The new domain will give companies and individuals the 21st century equivalent of the phone number, promises Telnic

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

Telnic, which proposed .tel to ICANN in 2000, said the domain will give individuals and businesses a naming and navigation structure for the Internet communications space.

The idea is for users 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 IP, email or 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 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 claimed. Telnic 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 .XXX domain, a move that was welcomed by adult industry insiders, but criticised by the European Commission, which accused ICANN of bowing to pressure from the US government.