IDNs and India: A Conversation with Rajesh Aggarwal of NIXI

By Chuck Kisselburg (ICANNWiki.org)

NIXI (National Internet eXchange of India), is the registry for “.in”. With offices throughout India NIXI is the meeting point for all ISPs in India. NIXI facilitates the exchange of Internet traffic between peering ISP members. What better way to understand the impact IDNs will have on India than through a conversation with a member of NIXI?

Having just spent a week in New Delhi for the ICANN conference, I was fortunate to spend time in the community. My hotel, NOT one of the recommended hotels, seemed to cater less to those who spoke English and more to those from around India and Southeast Asia. In other words, I heard very little English. Most of those who worked at the hotel spoke very little, to no English. As such I could not help but see how useless today’’s Internet is to a group of people. Now, expand my little microcosm to the world and the number of people who can’t really use today’s Internet is, well, HUGE!

As Director of ICANNWiki.org, I am VERY pleased to have had this conversation with Rajesh Aggarwal, the Additional CEO for NIXI. Rajesh provides insight regarding the impact IDNs will have on one of earth’s most populated countries, India. With 22 “official” languages, and countless local languages and dialects, India stands to benefit greatly from the use of IDNs.

What does having IDNs mean to you?
More than a billion Indians do not understand English. We are going for Indic language operating systems, applications and web content. Having URLs also in the Indian language will be a good step to include for all of these people.

Will IDNs have an impact in your area?
It will generate positive vibes, or feelings, in the sense that Internet administrators are concerned about non-English speaking people.

How might IDNs hinder your geographic region?
There are still issues in typing Indian characters in browsers- this however will be covered by plug-ins. We have to be careful about phishing, etc. as many Indian characters and conjuncts can be confusingly similar. There are multiple ways of writing the same word.

How might IDNs help businesses in your geographic region?
Many small businesses, especially catering to rural areas, may register IDNs and create websites in Indian languages.

Which group will benefit most from IDNs in your area and why?
Registrars will have a new area opening up. Bloggers, Indian language Newspapers, and small businesses will be the first ones to go for these addresses.

Do you foresee any challenges with which applications will be able to support IDNs?
Yes. Operating System and browser issues are still there. In many cases characters are still not represented the way they should be.

How do you hope IDNs are NOT used?
I hope they are not used for purposes of phishing and cyber squatting. We have to be very careful about this.

What is your biggest hope for IDNs to accomplish?
My biggest hope for IDNs is that they generate interest in Indian languages, resulting in the creation of many more websites and blogs in local languages; more than are available today.

source: http://icannblog.org/2008/03/03/idns-and-india-a-conversation-with-rajesh-aggarwal-of-nixi/

Thank you, Rajesh!

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