The registry for the .eu top level domain (TLD) received 390,000 applications in the first 100 minutes after registration was opened to all residents of the European Union, EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said on Friday.

"At this speed, .eu will become a real competitor to .com," said Reding.

The .eu registry operator, Eurid has approved a number of registrars around the EU to handle applications.

Reding said the price of a .eu TLD will vary, and she advised European residents to shop around for the best deal.

"I have seen a price of €15, but a spokesman for a colleague of mine found a price of €12 by a registrar based in the Czech Republic," she said. "The system relies on open competition between registrars."

During the so-called sunrise period which began on 7 December companies and trademark owners made 340,000 applications to register domain names, and just under 25,000 have been granted, Reding said.