One or two letter Irish internet domain names will soon be available to businesses here for the first time.

The IE Domain Registry (IEDR), which is responsible for the management and administration of Ireland's .ie Internet address, said it expects intense competition for the new short addresses, particularly in cases where more than one company uses the same two letter abbreviation.

Such short two letter domains area already available in other countries including Britain, where as a result of strong demand €4.1m was raised when they were auctioned.

The move will mean 676 new combinations - like hp.ie, bt.ie and aa.ie - will become available to businesses here for the first time. 

How the new names are to be released has yet to be decided, and a 30 day public consultation will take place around the issue. 

However, the rules that currently apply to all .ie domain registrations will apply, meaning applicants must have a connection to Ireland and a legitimate claim to the domain name sought. 

In scenarios where two or more companies or individuals apply for the same one or two letter .ie domain name and also meet the registration criteria, the winner will be decided by an auction.

Further information is available on the IEDR website, with information on how to apply also available online.