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[The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved a new top-level domain suffixed ".tel," awarding a contract to British company, Telnic. ICANN's board made the decision last Tuesday, said Andrew Robertson, a spokesman for the organisation but it was overshadowed by ICANN's rejection at the same meeting of the .xxx domain name.
Telnic, which applied for the domain in October 2000, says it envisages creating a universal text and navigation system for contact information over the Internet. Mobile device users could communicate and access the services of organisations or individuals with .tel domain names.
[edited by: engine at 7:54 pm (utc) on May 15, 2006]
They don't seem to be pushing this usage, though. Instead they are touting this as a way for companies to publish contact information or provide a single point of contact using a domain name.
The whole concept is a bit fuzzy to me. How is this different from a .com? What advantage is there to yet another TLD in this case?
It appears there is ALREADY a means for creating domain names for telephone numbers, BTW - e164.arpa. How this works or how widely it's been implemented, I dunno.
In both cases, they seem to use some newfangled DNS records that are not understood by most present-day resolvers or web browsers. The company's web site mentions that a browser plugin will be needed.
They have a lot of work ahead of them to de-muddy the intended use, make a sensible case for it, and convince companies to support the new DNS records.
For example options could include being transferred to speak directly to someone using VoIP, emailing them, phoning them in the normal way, perhaps even having the option of going through to their website.
It also looks like different types of devices may present the options in different ways / be set to gather different information by default - e.g. perhaps a cars gps system would automatically get a companies address when you tell it a name of a company/individual.
But I'm only guessing - it I don't think its very clear from their website how it will work in practice.
Telnic offered an example of how the new domain could aid someone trying to reach the Hertz car rental service. A user would type Hertz.tel on their mobile phone and be connected to a customer service representative for the local area.
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