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Creating a top level domain for Scotland
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A number of people and organisations are calling for a global top level domain (DNS entry or TLD) to be created for Scotland on the Internet.
What this would mean is that Scottish e-mail, WWW, FTP addresses could be assigned a two letter "country" suffix signifying Scotland. Currently Scottish addresses end in .uk or one of the general "international" suffixes such as .net, .com or .org. Scottish businesses in particular, rather than having a Scottish address are forced to use either a "UK" version, or an international one which might already be in use by a different company elsewhere in the world.
From a Welsh point of view, a separate DNS entry also makes sense for companies as limited companies there can put Cyf. (Cyfyngedig) after their names, making their name unique in a Welsh context only. e.g. www.companyname.cyf.<wales-code> corresponding to the current www.companyname.ltd.uk.
The organisation which allocates Internet numbers to names is ICANN
(The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number),
The responsibility was previously handled by http://www.iana.org/
(The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). The two letter country
suffixes which they use are those defined in ISO3166.
This standard is on-line at various locations, one such location is http://www.din.de/gremien/nas/nabd/iso3166ma/codlstp1/en_listp1.html Incidentally, ISO3166 predates the Internet and is used in a wide variety of contexts besides Internet country domains.
Independence is not a prerequisite for getting a country domain.
"The codes represent the names of countries, dependencies and other
areas of special interest for purposes of international exchange,
without indicating expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the
legal status of any country or territory or of its' authorities, or
concerning the delimitation of its' frontiers." Any area of "special
interest" can get one with the support of the relevant standards body.
For instance, the Isle of Man is (.im), Jersey is (.je) and Guernsey is
(.gg). These ones slipped through to IANA (the forerunner of ICANN) by
"mistake". IANA states:
"Jersey is part of another ISO 3166 list which defines reserved codes.
All UPU (Universal Postal Union) codes on this list we allowed into the
top level domain list. We have now been advised to not use this
reserved code list any further. However, all top level delegations
from that list remain current."
It appears that the UK government was not at all pleased about Jersey,
Guernsey and the Isle of Man being granted full ISO3166 status. The UK
government should have been consulted and their subsequent stance
indicates that they would have opposed such a move, as they are presently
doing with Scotland, although the later noted non objection to the creation of .scot
The codes ICANN now uses for country codes are exclusively those from the ISO 3166-1 standard, although codes previously allocated under previous rules are maintained. In particular, uk (seen on most UK e-mail addresses) is not in ISO3166, the appropriate country code in ISO3166 is GB. There is at least one address using this: dra.hmg.gb (hmg.gb is a rough equivalent of gov.uk)
Britain's (and hence Scotland's) representative on ISO is the British Standards Institute or BSI. They can be reached at mailto: email@example.com
The situation in the UK as regards ISO3166 is now rather a mess. Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man shouldn't have codes but do, and the UK's is listed as "GB", but "UK" is what appears in the DNS. Scotland has its own parliament with devolution but still does not have its own DNS entry, even though other areas such as Antarctica do. So do many minor islands. Some of them are barely inhabited (Pitcairn/.pn, population 48). Some are now dependencies of Australia or New Zealand but still have their own ISO 3166 codes and DNS entries. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are Crown Dependencies rather than parts of the UK or Great Britain (but they are classed as part of the British Isles). Despite what HMG might say on the matter, they *should* have had ISO 3166 codes long ago - they have different legislation, have different postal rates, etc.
The creation of a top level domain for Scotland not only has the support of many IT professionals, but also some manufacturers and Internet providers as well as the SNP led Scottish Government. The .co.uk namespace is also oversubscribed - too many people chasing the same names. That's why Nominet introduced .plc.uk and .ltd.uk - theoretically the names registered at Companies House (and mangled according to Nominet rules to turn them into domain names) are not very memorable.
Even the .plc.uk and .ltd.uk expansion has still resulted in uk.com
becoming quite widely used.
One way of increasing the effective namespace is to add Scottish, Welsh,
English and Northern Irish TLDs. That *might* be a justification that ICANN
would accept for adding those TLDs without ISO 3166 country codes. It is
also possible to lodge a case with the domain name arbiter
In contrast to the problems with the DNS, Scotland has had its own usenet
domain for a very considerable length of time (in Internet terms). The
scot.* hierarchy has been around since at least 1985, more info on
this in [20.4]. Furthermore a top level domain may be introduced soon
for American Indigenous Peoples. There is also likely to be a ".eu" domain
for the European Union. If there is a case for these domains, surely there
is a case for Scotland?
The possible codes Scotland could be allocated range from aa to zz although the country codes AA, QM-QZ, XA-XZ and ZZ are reserved by ISO 3166 as user-assigned codes and are not available. There is no process for reassigning codes already in use. Maybe having one might be a step forward?
"Scotland" letter combinations (all allocated):
SC = Seychelles
SO = Somalia
ST = Sao Tome and Principe
SL = Sierra Leone
SA = Saudi Arabia
SN = Senegal
SD = Sudan
"Caledonia" letter combinations:
CA = Canada
CL = Chile
CE = UNASSIGNED
CD = Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
CO = Colombia
CN = China
CI = Ivory Coast/Cote d'Ivoire
AA = reserved as user-assigned
AB = UNASSIGNED
AL = Albania
Finally, people who use the unofficial "SCO" country sticker on their cars
may be surprised to learn that Scotland has been granted an official three
letter country designation under part 2 of ISO3166 - this indicates names
of subdivisions of countries. Under this standard, Scotland is not SCO but
For information on the campaign for a top level domain for Scotland, see
It was announced on 13th June 2012 that the dotScot application,
http://dotscot.net/ had been accepted by ICANN as part of the new Global Top
Level Domain programme and that there were no competing bids for the same gTLD.
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Q-HTML V3.4 by Craig Cockburn created this page on 19-Jun-2012 at 08:06:37