On Thursday 13 April 2023, Ghana Domain Name Registry, under the auspices of the Ministry of Communication and Digitilisation, hosted the maiden edition of Universal Acceptance (UA) Day celebrations. The event was designed to raise awareness about Universal Acceptance, promote UA adoption, and encourage local internet players to spread UA awareness. The theme for the event was “Making all domain names and email addresses work on all software platforms.”
The UA Day consisted of UA training, awareness, and strategy sessions promoted by Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Participants at the event were encouraged to support Universal Acceptance, and it was emphasized that everyone should have equal internet access. To bring the next billion people online, there is the need for all to be UA-ready.
UA Training, Awareness, and Strategy Sessions
Universal Acceptance (UA)
UA is a technical compliance best practice that allows people from around the world to effectively use any domain name and any email address in any application for their personal and business use. In his speech, read on behalf of the Executive Director of the Ghana Domain Name Registry, Nana Asafu-Aidoo, it was noted that organizations and businesses would excel if they ensured that their systems and services worked with the continuously expanding and evolving Domain Name space. UA would ensure that everyone had the ability to navigate and communicate on the internet using the domain name and email address that best aligned with their interests, business, culture, language, and script.
Education on Universal Acceptance
The event provided an opportunity for participants to be educated on the meaning of Universal Acceptance. Universal Acceptance principles ensure that email addresses and all valid domain names, including long new top-level domains like .org, .net, .com, and .info which are part of Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), can be used by all internet-enabled applications, devices, and systems regardless of script, language, and character length. UA generally supports the ability for email mailbox names to use characters in local languages and scripts through Email Address Internationalization (EAI) standards.
Role of GDNR as a ccTLD in UA
The Executive Director said the role of Ghana Domain Name Registry as a ccTLD in UA was critical, adding that the .GH registry was an essential part of the internet infrastructure and played a vital role in enabling local content creation and access. ccTLDs helped to promote local content creation and access, ensured that all domain names were treated equally and could be used by all internet-enabled applications, devices, and systems.
Benefits of UA Acceptance
The resource person for the event, Mr. Arnt Gulbrandsen, UA Technical Senior Manager, ICANN, said UA acceptance would promote consumer choice, improve competition, and provide broader access to end-users. He said it also offered career advantages for developers and system administrators and helped governments and policymakers in reaching their citizens. With the current internet population of five billion active users and a billion more expected to come online, UA would help users to experience the full benefits of the internet. Businesses that were UA-ready would be best positioned to reach growing global audiences and maximize revenue potential from the current internet population, as well as the next billion.
Call to Action
Mr. Gulbrandsen urged participants to internally organize themselves and assess if their business’s systems were compliant with UA standards. He advised businesses to update their own IT systems to be UA-ready, encourage their collaborators to participate, promote local UA-related discussions, and create UA awareness with partner organizations and companies, aiming to update their systems to current globally inclusive standards. He also advised the government to evaluate the possibility.