Germany: Berlin first city with its own internet domain

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

Berlin is about to become the first city in the world with its own internet domain name, it appears.

Companies or individuals based in the German capital will be able to use .berlin at the end of their website addresses from 18 March, the dpa news agency reports. The suffix - technically known as a generic top-level domain (gTLD) - was created under an agreement between Berlin's local government and ICANN, the US-based organisation that co-ordinates global internet systems.

After Berlin, cities including London, Paris, New York, Johannesburg and Japanese city Nagoya will launch their own domains. The .london suffix will become available in April. A single website with the ending .wien, representing the Austrian capital Vienna, has been live since early March but public registration for that gTLD does not open until July.

"Domains are descriptive, not just cryptic abbreviations like .org or .com," says Dirk Krischenowski of dotBerlin, which operates the new domain. He says locality-based domains could lead to a fundamental change to how the internet is used.

A .berlin suffix will cost between 30-60 euros (£25-50) per year, and is expected to raise 500,000 euros (£418,000) in the first year.

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