SHEIKH, Egypt: If a special fast track process works well, the Chinese-speaking people could type in their mother tongue and get connected by 2010, said Rod Beckstrom, head of the governing body of Internet addresses.
"If they (the Chinese) have submitted the application now... then we would estimate, roughly at sometime in mid 2010," Beckstrom, president and CEO of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), told Xinhua on the sidelines of the 4th Internet Governance Forum (IGF).
"There is extensive application, legal and technical review process," Beckstrom added.
The ICANN, a nonprofit body that oversees Internet addresses, agreed to allow the use of non-Latin characters in registering top- level domain names. The decision came at the conclusion of a week- long meeting in late October in Seoul.
Earlier in the day, Beckstrom confirmed that ICANN has indeed received serious applications since it accepted non-Latin domain names registration at the end of October.
"ICANN has received six applications for three languages, including Egypt and Russia," Beckstrom said at joint press conference with Tarek Kamal, Egypt's Minister of Information and Communications Technology.
Kamal, who is also chair of the forum, had announced at Sunday's opening ceremony the launch of the first Arabic domain name. But the ICANN chief declined to reveal the nuts and bolts of the applicants.
"I can't comment because we don't disclose the names of the applicants. We don't disclose it because it is the countries' applicants' choice," Beckstrom said.
Launched in 2006, the IGF is a multi-stakeholder dialogue on public policy related to Internet governance issues. This year, the UN-sponsored annual forum was attended by some 1,500 delegates from 100 countries, who are divided into 80 workshops. Internet security, cloud computing, IPv6, social networks, openness and privacy are among the hottest topics of the four-day event, whose overall title is "Internet governance -- Creating opportunities for all."