ICANN has signed the agreements that will allow the first set of new generic top level domains (gTLDs) to go live.
ICANN signed agreements with three internet registries, as well as registrars from Senegal, Australia, France and the US.
The three registries applied for new gTLDs using Chinese, Arabic and Cyrillic characters.
The agreements, signed during ICANN's 47th public meeting in South Africa, will also pave the way for African domain names.
“We can see the last mile before the first new TLD is activated in the internet’s root,” ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé said.
He said the allocation of the domains will improve accessibility to the internet, by allowing people to use their own native languages when typing in website addresses.
“African domain names will bring financial, economic and sociocultural benefits to Africa,” the African Union’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Dr Elham Ibrahim added.
ICANN first approved the plan to overhaul its approach to global TLDs in June 2011.