"Even if the Internet is globally structured, owing to the great success of this and of other national addresses, a worldwide trend has started to further develop the addressing in the area of top-level domains. Apart from the familiar addresses such as ".com", ".org" and the national addresses such as ".de", the address space is being extended for regional addressing, to encourage increased local and regional use and to make homogenous markets and usage areas more visible and recognizable already through the top-level-domains.
The usability is also increased by the option of restricting search enquiries to the local area and by keeping more of the Internet traffic local. In the past, ICANN has only approved regional top-level-domains for nation states. In the meantime however, following this trend, the first regional top-level-domains have been created with the introduction of ".eu" for Europe, ".asia" for Asia and ".cat" for Catalonia.
At the same time, there is increasing support for the approval of characters from other languages within the scope of Internet addresses. Since 1st April 2004, umlauts and accents such as ä, ö, é, etc. can be used in addresses.
For Germany, this development provides good opportunities for the Länder, regions and cities to better present their special features commercially and culturally, worldwide. For example, in cities such as London, New York City or Berlin, today there are more domain registrations than in over 150 countries which already have their own top-level-domain."