As of May 3th 2012 it will be possible to use 30 new characters to register a .fr domain name as well as all other extensions managed by AFNIC.
So far, only numbers and letters without accents were included in Internet addresses but from the upcoming May 3th, accentuated characters will also be accepted within the French domain name space (.fr, .re, .tf, .wf, .pm and .yt).
This opening process into new accents such as é, è, à, ù and other special characters such as æ, ç, œ will take place in two stages over a period of three months (from May 3th to July 3th). This process will enable all owners of an existing domain name with a possibly accentuated letter to “secure” its registration. For example, the owner of “liberte.fr” will keep the priority for registering “liberté.fr”. But from July 3th onwards, the possibility of registration will be extended to anyone interested under the rule of “First-Come, First-Served”.
The opening schedule is as follows (the exact times will be announced later by AFNIC):
- 3 February 2012: Publication of the specifications for registrars.
- 3 May 2012: Launch of the IDN sunrise period with the “Grandfathering” rule.
- 3 July 2012: Opening with IDN attribution according to the “first come, first served” rule
You can find the AFNIC IDN technical specification document here.