Multilingual Web address to be rolled out next year

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers -- ICANN for short -- is reportedly in the final stages of a plan that will allow the use of Web addresses with non-Latin characters. First approved last year, the plan will allow for domain names to be written in Asian, Arabic and other characters from various languages.

The group intends to finish the plans on Friday and said, "This is the biggest change technically to the Internet since it was invented 40 years ago." The new concept will roll out sometime in the middle of 2010, but applications for non-Latin domain names will be open next month. ICANN president Rod Beckstrom noted that of today's 1.6 billion Internet users, more than half use languages that have scripts which are not Latin-based.

Along with the multilingual web addresses, ICANN says that addresses ending in ".bank" will be reserved for authorized banks.

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