28. April 2008, 15:14 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

Apparently, for some, in the province of Québec having a provincial domain name of .qc.ca or using .ca isn’t good enough. Daniel Turp, a Parti Québécois member of Québec’s National Assembly has started a petition for a Québec specific .qc domain. Under current regulations, however, it would require that Québec be deemed a country in its own right first.

Obtaining a ccTLD (country code top-level domain) is a fairly involved process. These are ultimately supplied by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and are governed by a large set of strict rules from the ISO, the International Standards Association. One of these is the ISO 31-66-1, which specifies the two-letter country codes as dictated by those whom the United Nations considers an official country. As there is no .qc presently on the list, to get a two-letter code one would have to go to the standards body to get reclassified as a country.

While it isn’t strictly speaking necessary to be an official country to get a ccTLD, it is a complex process with some rigorous requirements. Amongst them:

  • Convince the United Nations Statistics Division that the entity is sufficiently economically and legally separate from the rest of the “parent country” that a new 3-digit entity code is justified.
  • Convince the International Standards Association 3166 Maintenance Agency to agree to assign a 2-letter code corresponding to the 3-digit United Nations code. Note that Agency will not act without support from the host country’s standards body. In this case the Standards Council of Canada.
  • Convince the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to create an entry in the DNS root for the ccTLD, which requires having appropriate infrastructure, registrars, etc.

Daniel Turp’s petition claims that Québec and its citizens should be able to “endow themselves with their own identity and a visible presence on the map”. It also argues that a precedent has been set by the autonomous Spanish region Catalonia, which has its own .cat domain. As the .cat domain is not an official two-letter ccTLD this is a rather specious arguement. It might be more appropriate had the petiton been for .qbc, as an example. Apparently, according to Mr. Turp, the provincial government intranet uses the .qc designation already. As you can use anything you want on an internal network, this argument is also irrelevant to the discussion.

A separate issue is the precedent this would create. It would not be long before every governmental sub-unit everywhere would clamour for their own two-letter top-level domain. Imagine the possibilities, and the conflicts.

It would seem this is simply another potitical gambit by the Parti Québécois, having lost their bid for separation in public referendums, to try create a gulf with the rest of Canada, this time via the internet, and try for virtual, if not actual, sovereignty.

I have an idea! Lets institute the pTLD™ (personal Top Level Domain) for real live people. Only I wouldn’t want to have to manage it.

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Categories: ,
Keywords: .gc,Quebec,ccTLD,ICANN,ISO,country,Quebecois


Frog's Fri Jan 29, 11:31 AM

By the way, Quebec only takes one accent in french and YES you can write it with no accent in english.

So : Québec = French/Français and Quebec = English/Anglais

So Québéc is an error.

WDM Thu Feb 4, 05:36 PM

Thanks for catching that and for the heads up. Fixed.


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