City claims web domain

There can be only one, and thanks to Hawaii Rep. Ed Case, the address will finally bring web surfers to the shores of O`ahu. The federal General Services Administration (GSA), which manages government Internet domain names (which end in .gov rather than .com), had held off on assigning the address for years, citing possible confusion with other cities named Honolulu — notably Honolulu, Alaska. But Case, backed by a City Council resolution authored by councilman Charles Djou, was able to get the city’s long-rebuffed request approved.

“This is an important step in making our government more accessible to the people,” Djou said, noting the city’s old domain — — wasn’t very user friendly. “Good government should not only be ‘of the people and by the people,’ but also easy for the people to reach.”

While .gov addresses are usually reserved for federal agencies, some cities (like Seattle and Phoenix) were able to request their own domains under special exemptions. Honolulu first requested one three years ago, according to information technology director Courtney Harrington.

“The City asked for the exception based on Honolulu being a unique name and which could not be confused with any other city,” Harrington said.

Unfortunately, there are cities and towns named Honolulu elsewhere in the United States, including in Alaska, Kansas, and North Carolina.

Case cheered the GSA decision in Hawaii’s favor, saying it was a good example of cooperation between local governments and Congress.

“This is an important advance in that direction, particularly for the 200,000 suburban and rural Oahu residents of my Second Congressional District who may not have easy access to their City government in downtown Honolulu,” Case said.

Although the approval came last month, the domain has yet to be activated. City officials say it should be working by the end of the week, adding that they also plan to use the domain for e-mail addresses.

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