Quebec will soon enjoy distinct status in Canada and across the World Wide Web, thanks to recognition by the global Internet body.
This fall, the domain name .quebec will be available to serve as a URL suffix for websites, making the province the only Canadian jurisdiction with its own signature as an alternative to old standards, like .com and .ca.
The .quebec suffix is among a wave of generic top-level domains recently authorized by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, new addresses that provide fresh naming options for businesses and people online.
In Quebec, the group that pushed for the new domain name says pre-registration for those hoping to buy the .quebec name begins Sept. 2, with the suffixes expected to be available as of Nov. 13.
ICANN gave the green light to .quebec in April.
"We have our own culture, and we have our own way of doing things, and we want to also affirm our presence on the Web," said Michel Philibert, a spokesman for PointQuebec.
On its website, PointQuebec says the domain would benefit tourism businesses, multinationals trying to connect with clients in the province and companies trying to sell Quebec products.
"The fact of having our proper identity on the Web, the fact of taking our place on the Web, the fact of existing on the Web will be beneficial for Quebec businesses over the long term," Philibert said.
He said .quebec was the only request made to ICANN on behalf of a Canadian region, but he believes other districts in the country could soon follow its lead.
The .quebec address is far from alone when it comes to geographic domains. ICANN has also recently authorized suffixes like .vegas, .nyc, .miami and .paris.
"We are at the start of a movement that will change the Internet considerably from how we know it today," Philibert said.
The provincial government has thrown its support behind the .quebec project. Philibert said the province provided a loan to help cover the $185,000 application fee and noted that the plan received support from all political parties in the legislature.
He said talks are underway that could eventually see government websites adopt the suffix, a move that could serve as a replacement for the current gouv.qc.ca.