On Friday 31 May 2013 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers approved ZA Central Registry’s .Joburg domain application. This makes Johannesburg, Durban and possibly Cape Town among the first cities to potentially have their own TLDs.
According to Uniforum SA, which trades as ZA Central Registry, this approval will afford the city an “opportunity to establish its own online brand identity”.
Speaking to TechMoran, Vika Mpisane who is a Member of the dotAfrica steering committee at ZA Central Registry explained on when the domain can expected to be operational “Getting .joburg operational depends on how fast ICANN moves.”
“ICANN has set to finalize its evaluations by 30 June. We can reasonably then expect .joburg to be operational anytime from September this year.”
Unlike the .africa domain gTLD which was contested by both ZA Central Registry and DotConnectAfrica, Johannesburg’s top level domain had no contenders with ZACR being the only applicant.
Mpisane explained “ ZACR is the only applicant. This was expected considering the name ‘Joburg’ is exclusively South African. No other place or city is called Joburg other than our Joburg.”
According to the .Joburg Value Proposition the city’s municipality will now have a chance to “establish a uniform and scalable online identity for the provision of municipal related services. e.g. hospitals.joburg, icc.joburg, police.joburg, parks.joburg, rates.joburg etc.”
The domain name will be available to brands and organisations based in Johannesburg. Not much has been confirmed around costs and launch dates but Mpisane said that “there is an expectation that the annual fee will be around R150” pending approval by ZACR.
.Joburg joins .Durban as another South African city to get its own tld, .durban was approved by ICANN without any contention two weeks ago. It is expected that before the end of June 2013 ICANN would have approved .CapeTown as well.
“We are currently finalizing our launch strategy & policies in consultation with the City of Joburg and the Department of Communications. We plan to organize a workshop with the different tiers of government to inform them about reservation of names in the .joburg, .durban & .capetown.” Mpisane concluded.