The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted unanimously on Sunday to create new top-level domains for the Internet.

Under the resolution, ICANN will appoint an unspecified number of registry operators by the end of 2000 to operate new top-level domains as alternatives to the current .com, .net and .org domains.

The board's failure to specify the number of top-level domains it will create came under fire from some at the conference. ICANN interim-chairman, Esther Dyson, said she would like to see ten top-level domains created, other board members cautioned that number may be too high given ICANN's staffing problems - which are in turn related to funding problems.

The application period will run for two months from August 1, and then the public will have a two-week period in which to comment. The organization plans to announce its selections by November 20, and then enter into final negotiations with those applicants, aiming to finish negotiations by December 31.

Applicants will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee of $50,000, which will be used to fund the examination of application forms at both administrative and legal levels, said ICANN spokeswoman Pam Brewster.