A bid to use the distinctive Welsh domain names is due to be officially submitted to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) later this month. It follows a decision last year by the body responsible for managing domain names on the internet to increase the number of Internet domain name endings.
First Minister, Carwyn Jones said the new domain names would be a fantastic opportunity for Wales. He said:
“They will ensure that Wales is at the forefront of developments on the internet, and will put a flag for us on the on-line map. We will be able to use the top level domain names to establish a strong on-line presence which truly reflects our national identity.”
The Welsh Government has already announced it is content for the Wales applications to proceed and Nominet, the registry currently responsible for managing the .uk domain names, will be submitting the applications this month.
Business Minister Edwina Hart said:
“The new domains have the potential to bring significant economic benefits to Wales. They will strengthen Wales’s global identity, promote business growth and encourage the exploitation of digital technologies across all sectors.
”We are working with Nominet on the development of the application to ensure that the domain is managed in a way that maximises the benefits to Wales.”
Following a detailed review by ICANN, the first new domains are anticipated to go live in 2013.
Nominet, which manages the .uk domain name from its head office in Oxford, has committed to establishing an office base in Wales to deliver the .wales and .cymru domain names, which could create up to nine new jobs.
Nominet CEO Lesley Cowley said:
"This is an opportunity for Wales to lay claim to a dedicated online home that will support the development of businesses, communities, and the Welsh language online.
"Nominet is funding the application for both .cymru and .wales domains, and as a not-for-profit organisation, is committed to investing profits back into projects that help Welsh society. We will run the domains on a fully-bilingual basis and we will publish our own Welsh Language Scheme in due course."