Neustar: Taking Internet beyond India’s English speakers by supporting 22 Indian languages

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Neustar is bringing a lot of innovation in the way people interact with the Internet – the company is taking the Internet beyond India’s English speakers by supporting all 22 official Indian languages.

Its new Registry web portal will allow domain name Registrars to provide IDNs in their native script from registration all the way to management and reporting of IDNs. This end-to-end local language support will make registering IDNs – and therefore, engaging with .IN – a more inclusive experience for all consumers.

Nitin Wali, Regional Director – Technical Services at Neustar speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s strategy for India and its future plans.

What are the key focus areas for Neustar today?

Our partnership with NIXI is an exciting new opportunity to deepen our involvement in the Indian digital community and business ecosystem. Supporting NIXI as Technical Service Provider for .IN, our focus is on protecting, strengthening and innovating the .IN domain namespace in order to cement its place as a national legacy of the Indian digital economy. We’ll achieve this through ongoing investment and product innovation, so that we can continue to increase performance and security of the .IN domain for the benefit of all internet users.

It will come as no surprise that security is a major focus for Neustar. We’ve been investing heavily in updating our Registry capabilities in order to take advantage of the latest technologies and security features, and implementing these improvements in .IN will be big priority. In recent years we’ve updated our global infrastructure by adding multiple layers of security and features to handle unusual traffic, attacks and denial of service events. This includes 30 new global DNS nodes, advanced threat mitigation services and an almost tenfold increase in our DDoS mitigation capabilities to become the largest in the industry, with over 10Tbps scrubbing capacity.

In addition to our work with .IN, Neustar already has a large presence in India and has recently opened our third office, located in New Delhi. Across these offices we have close to 200 team members who work as part of our global team to deliver our leading solutions across the globe.

As we further our growth in the Indian market, we’re focusing on finding opportunities to utilise these capabilities to benefit the consumers, businesses and organisations that call India home.

What is your go to market strategy?

Our focus for .IN is to provide world-class backend Registry services on our award-winning platform – and beyond this, to support NIXI in increasing adoption and usage of .IN across India.

One major component of this is helping to take the Internet beyond India’s English speakers by supporting all 22 official Indian languages. As such, one of the first upgrades to take effect in .IN following the transition will be to directly improve the Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) experience. Put simply, an IDN is a domain name that contains characters in a language-specific script or alphabet. For example, domains that end in .भारत (.Bharat in Devanagari Script) or .ভারত0 (.Bharat in Bengali Script). Our new Registry web portal will allow domain name Registrars to provide IDNs in their native script from registration all the way to management and reporting of IDNs. This end-to-end local language support makes registering IDNs – and therefore, engaging with .IN – a more inclusive experience for all consumers.

This kind of innovation, in conjunction with our industry-leading DNS, DDoS mitigation and threat intelligence capabilities, are some of the reasons why NIXI entrusted Neustar with the privilege and responsibility of driving India’s digital domain into the future.

How do you look at India as a market opportunity?
India is going through a rapid digital transformation phase – how can businesses and individuals benefit from this trend? What is your role here?

The .IN namespace – and the Indian digital economy in general – is in a unique position, poised for growth and ripe for innovation.

According to a recent report released by India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY – India’s Trillion-Dollar Digital Opportunity Report), “India is among the top three global economies in terms of the number of digital consumers. With 560 million internet subscriptions in 2018, up from 238.71 million in 2013, India is the second-largest subscription market in the world”. MeitY also reports that “the existing digital ecosystem could contribute up to $500 billion of economic value, but the potential economic value for India could be as much as double that amount if digital technologies are used to unlock productivity, savings, and efficiency.”

Through the flagship Digital India Program, the Government of India is fully committed to the transformation of India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Like NIXI, we are confident that .IN has a vital role to play in this endeavor, and it feels a natural fit for Neustar to bring its Registry and security capabilities to enabling .IN to reach its greatest potential.

What are some of the challenges that you see in India as well as on global front?

Room for growth in domain name usage

An internet domain is like basic wiring for the home – you can’t always see it but without it, nothing works. While other platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook etc. are great for small businesses to reach their customers, it is with a domain/website-led strategy that small businesses can become bigger, scale faster and build their brand. I think all of us in the technology and internet space should proactively educate consumers about this and this education is both a challenge and an opportunity.

Domain name availability

When a brand or business is looking to register a domain name, simply finding the domain they want can be a challenge. A lot of businesses looking to register a generic domain end up having different website identities because they can’t find a match for their name – which can confuse customers about their trustworthiness. There is an opportunity here for namespaces like .IN, which have a relatively higher level of domain availability, to give Indian businesses greater choice and creativity when it comes to registering a domain.

Making the choice of .IN

For a number of reasons, Indian businesses and individuals looking to establish an online identity have previously shown some preference for generic domains such as .com, .net and .org. In many cases, this may simply be because there is greater market awareness of these domains. However, in India .IN has some great benefits that you can take advantage of – and it is a challenge for us to educate the market on these points:

  • .IN connects you to India and creates a uniquely Indian identity online. It’s like the online equivalent of a ‘Made in India’ stamp on your product or service!
  • .IN is affordable, quick and easy to register.
  • .IN websites can perform better in search results in India as search engines tend to treat country code domains preferentially for local searches.
  • .IN is stable, secure and high-performing, particularly since migrating to Neustar’s Registry technology, which will continue to develop and roll out updates and improvements.
  • Indian-language .भारत domains are available for registration, allowing Indian internet users to engage with businesses and organisations in their chosen language other than English.

Supporting an inclusive, multilingual internet

Historically there has only been limited opportunity for Indian consumers and business owners to navigate the Internet without using the English language – particularly when it comes to registering and using IDNs. This is particularly challenging in India, with such a diversity of languages spoken and written across the country.

If India is to truly become an online nation, we need an inclusive multilingual internet – and IDNs play a very important role in this. That’s why we’ve prioritised upgrades to the process of registering IDNs, as I mentioned earlier.

Cybersecurity becoming more challenging

Around the world, the complexity and scale of cyberattacks is increasing and it challenges all of us to continue constant innovation and development of our products and solutions to stay ahead of malicious actors and ‘out-innovate’ the bad guys.

As I mentioned above, this is an ongoing area of focus and investment for Neustar, and we’re continuing to find ways to further strengthen and protect our Registry partners including .IN and other massive domain namespaces around the world.

What kind of growth are you looking at and where is this growth going to come from?

Currently there are just over 2 million .IN domain names under management in the Registry. When we consider this against the India’s Trillion-Dollar Digital Opportunity Report I referenced earlier which states there are 560 million internet users in India, this equates to just four domain names per thousand internet users. By comparison, countries such as China (.cn), Brazil (.br), Australia (.au), and the United Kingdom (.uk) have approximately 29, 31, 146, and 192 domain names per thousand internet users respectively. If you extrapolate out these market penetration numbers to India and .IN domains – there should be anywhere from 16 million to 107 million domains under management.

Where the growth will come from will primarily be the new Indian business and individuals getting online that are proud of their online connection to India. For all the reasons I listed above, .IN can benefit this market greatly and we’re excited to work with NIXI to communicate this message and increase awareness and adoption.


Zia Askari
Zia Askari works as the Editor for TelecomDrive.com and carries over 18 years of experience in technology writing, branding, communications and digital marketing. Over these years, Zia has worked with Cyber Media and Grey Head on the content side and RAD Data Communications, Huawei Telecommunications and Shyam Networks on the branding and marketing side.