The prospect for IDNs in a European environment should be promising, and this is reflected in our “IDN Readiness Matrix”, which takes into account country and language factors on the one hand, and ccTLD factors on the other.
Within “country and language factors” are measures of economic strength, key skills such as literacy, Internet penetration, costs, and presence of Internet exchange points, as well as language and cultural factors.
Economic factors are favourable (eg Germany, Spain and Greece are classified as high income countries by the World Bank), essential skills are strong (literacy levels 97% and above), Internet Exchange Points are plentiful (19 in Germany, Amsterdam is a regional hub), and mobile broadband prices are low as a percentage of income (with the exception of Bulgaria).
Although there is high linguistic diversity across the region as a whole, linguistic and cultural homogeneity tend to be high within member states (for example, according to the World Values survey 2010–2014, more than 90% of people in Germany speak German at home, 83% in Spain speak Spanish at home). There is a comparatively high level of local language applications, measured by percentage of local sites in Alexa.com top 20 by country.
The ccTLD registries are strong, with liberalised policies, low prices and sophisticated channels to market. Downstream, at the retail level, domain name and related services are thriving with strong competition and wide consumer choice.
According to the IDN readiness matrix, we would expect to see high levels of IDN registrations in Germany, fairly high levels in Spain, and a moderate number in Greece and Bulgaria.
Emily Taylor is the CEO of Oxford Information Labs. She is an Associate Fellow of Chatham House and is the Editor of the Journal of Cyber Policy and co-founder of ICANN accredited registrar, Oxford Information Labs.
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