At the beginning of the 1990s, in an era where telephony, telegrams, and faxes were the main forms of communication, a desire for efficiency and economy led engineer Luis R. Furlán, director of the Center for Applied Informatics Studies (CEIA) at the University of Valle of Guatemala (UVG), to explore new horizons. His motivation was clear: seamless and economical communication was essential for research.
The solution came from a suggestion by engineer Theodore Hope, a former student of Furlán. He proposed connecting the UVG to the emerging Internet through the Hurricane Project, which he led from Costa Rica. In 1990, using a modest computer setup and a modem, Furlán successfully established the first Internet connection from Guatemala.
With the rapid growth in the number of users, a new need arose: to provide the UVG with its domain. Thus, a request was made to the IANA for the assignment of the uvg.edu domain to the UVG. However, Dr. John Postel of IANA made a more ambitious proposal: that the UVG become the administrator of the top-level domain name for Guatemala, the .gt domain. In an atmosphere of scientific and academic camaraderie, and without formal documents, the UVG accepted the proposal and became the custodian of the .gt ccTLD in 1992, setting a precedent in the history of the Guatemalan Internet.
Evolution in the service of the .gt domain name
The subdomain structure of .gt mirrored the generic structure used in the United States, incorporating categories like .com.gt, .edu.gt, and .gob.gt, among others. Additionally, the .ind.gt subdomain was added to cater to individuals who wished to have their domain name.
The evolution of the Internet also brought the need to adopt international regulations. In response to recommendations from ICANN and WIPO, in the year 2000, Guatemala became the second country in Latin America to adopt the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).
The year 2006 marked a new milestone: an agreement between ICANN and the UVG formalized the delegation of the .gt ccTLD. This agreement, based on email correspondence and gentleman’s agreements, established the UVG as an essential player in the digital landscape of Latin America and positioned it as an active member of regional organizations like LACTLD and ICANN’s ccNSO.
The .gt domain name today
Today, there are more than 23,000 registered .gt domain names, successfully establishing a presence in the minds of Guatemalans. Likewise, the number of international clients has grown, with multinational corporations like Apple and Google hosting dedicated websites for the sector. Guatemala’s participation in the LACTLD Unified Search Engine is also a gateway for more people to register their domain names from abroad.
This journey through the history of .gt is a testament to the vision, determination, and adaptability of Guatemalan institutions and professionals, reflecting the country’s digital evolution in a global context. UVG, as a pioneer and administrator of .gt, continues to be a beacon in the development of the Internet in the region