ZAdotCities domains including, dotJoburg, dotDurban and dotCapetown are expected to be launched on 1 June 2014, according to the Times.
The new domain names will initially be made available to provincial governments and municipalities, with “the man on the street” afforded the right to take up the new names from October, the paper said.
“The launch is phased,” Vika Mpisane, member of the dotAfrica Steering Committee, run by the ZA Central Registry (formerly Uniforum). Mpisane is also CEO at the ZA Domain Name Authority.
The ZA Central Registry (ZACR) is reported to have forked out as much as R1.9 million (US$185,000) for each of the three applications to Icann – the world body that oversees the web’s naming conventions.
“Before we launch, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers requires that, for a geographic name, you must allow relevant government entities to reserve names. We have a reserve name list that will be entered into the database,” Mpisane told the Times.
Trademark owners will be able to register their branded websites as part of a second phase, with a ‘premium name phase’ following, whereby ZACR will sell off domain names to the highest bidder.
“Then the real public launch will come,” he said.
Businesses and members of the public will be able to buy their own dotDurban, dotCapetown and dotJoburg domain names for a wholesale price of R180 per year.
Domains will be sold through registrars, though the ZACR will be wholesaling them.
According to the ZA Central Registry, the dotDurban domain has already undergone Icann’s pre-delegation testing, with the other two names on the verge of being tested.
“Our target is June 1. But it is dependent on Icann’s pre-delegation testing process,” Mpisane said.