Most Important: Dot Asia Will be an IDN TLD
I support the efforts by the DotAsia Organization to sponsor the .Asia sTLD, and I believe their plan is sound and their policy-setting system is a good one.
I'd also like to emphasize one very important component of the DotAsia application: If approved by ICANN, the DotAsia sTLD will be a unique mechanism to implement the first multi-lingual, multi-cultural Top Level Domain system, serving millions of Internet users in the Asia Pacific region, as well as Asian language users living outside the region..
The DotAsia plan will finally allow Domain Name users across Asia, as well as Internet users anywhere else in the world, for the first time to use their own local languages and scripts in an ICANN/IANA approved TLD, as well as in second and third level domain names - and not just using ASCII or English, as is currently the case.
This limitation in the TLD system of the DNS on the use of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and scores of other Asian/Arabic language scripts in common use throughout the world for thousands of years has been a significant roadblock to the expansion of Internet use in the Asia Pacific Region.
It is important to remember that the DNS system was originally created in order to simplify a complex communications system by using easy-to-remember names to refer to Internet services and systems, including email addresses and Websites. But since those early years, the naming system has become primarily "English" (or "ASCII") oriented in its development. Recent developments in the IETF standards setting bodies now allow the use of non-ASCII domain names in the second and third level, but until ICANN approves the creation of non-ASCII Top Level Domains, these new second and third level domains will remain complex and difficult for users in Asia to implement, since doing so requires the use of, for example, a Japanese script for the second level name and an ASCII text for the TLD.
It is important to understand how difficult it is for non-English speaking users to receive the full benefit of the Internet as long as that ASCII limitation on TLDs remains true. The DotAsia sTLD plan solves this problem in a reasoned and well-thought out, phased-in process.
Approval of the DotAsia sTLD will be a major improvement for Internet users in the AP and the rest of the world, and will be a fitting move by ICANN to bring the Internet's DNS into the 21st century.
Bill Semich President Internet Users Society - Niue .NU Domain