Similar, to the extent that they are combined client-server solutions, but not identical. And Veri$ign has been running its mltbd.net multilingual testbed for quite some time. Veri$ign also doesn't appear to be going (at this time) for the other ways that new.net names can be resolved, via a client DNS reset or via the use of participating ISPs. I also haven't seen mention of whether the plugin will auto-update as the new.net one does. If not, it will be a bureaucratic nightmare, if so, it gives Veri$ign the opportunity to put foistware, spyware, or other drek on your system, and given Veri$ign's track record I can see them trying just that.|
Bottom line is, Veri$ign pre-sold a bunch of multilingual domains, they were near useless, so the pressure was on for them to either be accepted by ICANN, IETF, et al, which they weren't, or to come up with another solution. This is their other solution. As many of the pre-reg names were registered by speculators and cybersquatters, this may get interesting. Can AOL file a UDRP claim against, for example: aol.mltbd.net? I don't think so.
I also think new.net really missed an opportunity here, they promised to have some functioning non-roman TLDs almost from their inception but haven't managed any to date, though I remain unclear from the reports to date whether Veri$ign's IDN will be IDN.IDN or eg: IDN.com (which was their testbed model). IF they stick with the latter, new.net or someone else could still have an opportunity. -g