After years of legal challenges, the ZA Central Registry will finally be able to make the .Africa generic top level domain (gTLD) available to the public.
ICANN, (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) awarded the control over the .Africa TLD to ZACR all the way back in 2014, only to have the decision challenged by Kenya’s DotConnectAfrica (DCA) in US courts, resulting in extensive delays.
Now, after the failure of their second motion, the legal process has been ended, and ZACR is finally in a position to make these domain names available, according to ZACR CEO, Lucky Masilela.
To begin with, intellectual property rights holders will be able to apply for their names on the gTLD, after which premium brands will have the chance to do the same. (This prevents so-called “cyber-squatters” from holding domain names to ransom as it were.) This phase is expected to begin in April, and general availability should become accessible thereafter, probably around July of this year.
ZACR already made city domain names .capetown, .joburg and .durban available in 2014 already, following the custom gTLDs rulings by ICANN, although to date, take up on these has not reached anywhere near the level of .co.za domains, possibly due to a premium charge for those domains in comparison.