February 5, 2013
The .AT extension celebrated its 25th year in January this year.
It was in January 1988 that the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) assigned the .AT extension to Austria, but for the first 3 years, domain names were for the exclusive use of universities only and the University of Vienna was the sole registrar for all .at domains.
In 1991, .co.at, .ac.at, .or.at and .gv.at names could be registered - and registration was still free.
In 1997, registration criteria were relaxed and fees introduced given the increased administrative workload as .AT gained popularity. The following year, Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA) founded nic.at, which assumed oversight of registration activities. By 1998, there were around 30,000 .at domains registered.
In 2000, ISPA transferred responsibility for nic.at to a new body; Internet Privatstiftung Austria (IPA).
In 2004, Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) were introduced; which allowed the use of umlauts, a pair of dots ( ¨ ) above a vowel.
The .AT space went from strength to strength, clocking up the millionth domain registration in 2011. Today, nearly 1.2 million domains are registered under .at; a remarkable result for a nation with nearly one-third the population of Australia.
However, unlike .AU domains; anyone can register a .AT name. Statistics available on the nic.at site show 64.56% of .AT registrations are made by Austrians. Other statistics show nearly 60 percent of all .at-domains host a multi-page web site, while 16.8 percent direct to another domain - with nearly half of those to another .at-domain.
According to Richard Wein, CEO of nic.at, an average of 400-600 new .AT domains are being registered every day.
A more detailed history can be viewed at nic.at.
The contents of an email sent on on 20 January 1988 to confirm .AT had been added to the Domain Name System (DNS) consisted of one word:
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