Wales now has 'natural home' on the internet [Western Mail (Wales)]
(Western Mail (Wales) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) PROUD companies, performers, retailers, public bodies and individuals will be able to use .wales or .cymru in their internet addresses within months, it was revealed yesterday.
Singers Only Men Aloud sang yesterday at a major London conference where the plans were announced and said they would be among the first to adopt the new domain names.
First Minister Carwyn Jones announced that the Welsh Government will drop its ".gov.uk" internet domain name and adopt ".wales" and ".cymru".
Other public bodies set to adopt the names are Sport Wales and the National Museum of Wales.
Speaking at a major London conference of Icann, the body which coordinates the internet's global domain name system, Mr Jones said he was "thrilled that Wales will finally have a natural home on the web". He said: "Names are an important part of how we communicate our identity to each other. And that's why I'm so pleased that from September we will be able to register domain names in .wales and .cymru - we will finally have a way of using our websites and email addresses to reflect the identity we feel in our hearts.
"That's why I am also pleased to announce here today that the Welsh Government will be moving our online presence from .gov.uk to the new domains as part of our renewal of how we serve and interact with citizens in Wales."
The phased launch of the .wales and .cymru domains will begin in September, with general availability from spring 2015.
The First Minister said bodies supported by the Welsh Government will eventually be expected to adopt the domain names.
He said: "We've been looking at this for a while. There was an issue regarding security because we're part of the Government's secure network, but that's been overcome and it's important we give a lead and we'll be doing just that.
"We'll be doing it and of course over time we expect those bodies that we fund to roll out the domain names as well. It will take some time to roll it out, there are some costs that have to be factored in and we don't expect that to happen overnight; but we will be looking to change as soon as practically possible."
Mr Jones dismissed the idea it could be seen as Wales distancing itself from the UK, saying: "Scotland already has a domain name. So does London.
"You've got .london and no-one has yet suggested that London is in some way trying to leave the UK; I think it's possible to have our separate identities - I don't think having a domain name. wales and .cymru in some way leads to the break-up of the UK."
He said the cost of the Welsh Government transition would be "in the thousands" but "not a huge amount of money in the scheme of things".
He used the opportunity of addressing a packed conference hall to give the international audience a crash-course on Wales and joked that the Welsh Government had no plans to take back the "lost land of England."
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