FORTH-ICS is a public sector (government agency) registry, a department of the Institute of Computer Science of the Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas. The registry has been operational since 1989. There are between 400 000 and 450 000 .gr domains.
There are approximately 450 locally accredited registrars for .gr, of which approximately 20 are international registrars and the remainder Greek.
Since 2005, FORTH-ICS has been offering IDNs in Greek script at the second level under .gr, to support Greek language. Fewer than 2% of domain names in .gr are IDNs – approximately the same proportion as in .bg. The Greek registry has also applied for the IDN ccTLD .ελ, which this is now reaching the final stages of the ICANN IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process and is expected to be launched in 2016.
According to the registry, while uptake of IDNs and support by registrars are more or less in line with expectations, user awareness is low. It is hoped that the fully Greek script IDN .ελ will prove a more attractive market offering.
Previously published in the World Report on Internationalised Domain Names, 2015