Surge in .NU Domain Registrations Funds A Tiny Nation’s Free Internet Services
Unprecedented Agreement Signed to Provide Nationwide Free Internet Services
SHERBORN, Mass., and ALOFI, Niue, The South Pacific, Feb. 3, 1999 /PRNewswire/ — The .NU Domain Ltd and its parent organization, the Internet Users Society — Niue (IUS-N), have announced an unprecedented agreement to provide free Internet services to all residents of the Polynesian island-nation of Niue.
“Niue is now the only nation in the world, to our knowledge, with free Internet services for all residents,” said J. William Semich, co-founder of the Internet Users Society — Niue and president of .NU Domain Ltd in the US.“ The free Internet services are part of a package of benefits planned for Niue by the IUS-N, a US-incorporated, private charitable foundation locally managed in Niue.
.NU Domain Ltd manages registrations in the .NU Top Level Domain (TLD), and is the only US corporation currently competing head-to-head with Network Solutions Inc.’s (Nasdaq: NSOL) .com TLD. .NU Domain Ltd recently announced its registrations had doubled in the past six months, rising to 30,000, making .NU the fastest growing domain name registry in the world.
IUS-N’s mandate is to use revenue from .NU domain name registrations to build Internet infrastructure in Niue, to provide for technology transfer to the people of Niue, including local self-management of IUS-N, and to provide for computer and Internet education and other services in Niue – all subsidized by IUS-N.
“There was no way a tiny developing nation like ours could have paid for these kinds of services without outside funding,” said Richard St. Clair, technical manager for IUS-N’s Internet services in Niue. “That’s why we decided two years ago to set up IUS-N as a non-government, private organization to create the .NU domain name registration business — so we could fund the build-out and support of free Internet services.”
The IUS-N has been providing free Internet email services to all residents of Niue for the past 18 months, using revenue generated from .NU domain name registrations by its sales and technical systems arm, .NU Domain Ltd, which is a US-based private corporation. “We decided to develop a formal commitment to the people of Niue to indefinitely continue the free email services, and to expand to free full-time Internet connectivity via a Satellite connection,” said St. Clair.
Since the Government of Niue owns and operates most of the computers on the island, about 90% of the email going through the system has originated in government departments. However, a good portion of this is personal email from parents and other relatives in Niue to the thousands of Niueans working and studying in New Zealand, Australia and the rest of the world.
“We have been saving the government hundreds of thousands of dollars in fax and phone costs alone,” said Stafford Guest, a local Niuean businessman who serves as Secretary/Treasurer of IUS-N.
The expanded free Internet services program is part of a wide-ranging Agreement signed last week in Niue by the IUS-N and Frank Fakotimanava Lui, Premier of Niue.
As a result of the agreement, the privately-run IUS-N formally committed to:
— Continue indefinitely to maintain its authority for the .NU top level domain delegation as designated by IANA (The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) under the terms and conditions of RFC 1591 (http://www.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc1591.txt), with particular attention to the provision (item 3-2.) that the TLD “designated authorities are trustees for the delegated domain, and have a duty to serve the community. The designated manager is the trustee of the top-level domain for both the nation, in the case of a country code, and the global Internet community.”
— Provide a full-time telecommunications link for international Internet access from Niue without charge (excepting abuses or overuse).
— Continue to support and maintain the free provision of Internet services in Niue, with full-time staff, offices, technical center, and support and training for local residents on how to use the Internet.
— Provide free email and other Internet services equally to the residents and the Government of Niue.
— Designate the second level domain names gov.nu, edu.nu and mil.nu for exclusive use by the Government of Niue.
— Notify the Government of Niue and invite its participation, with observer status, in all meetings and planning efforts of the IUS-N Council of Advisers.
— Respect the right of the Government of Niue to set its own policies for Internet usage, access rights, and usage terms and conditions for Government employees and equipment.
On its part, the Government of Niue committed to continue to support the efforts of the IUS-N with the following actions:
— To coordinate its Internet related activities and planning efforts with those of the IUS-N.
— To lease to IUS-N for ten years (renewable for another ten), at a nominal rate, Government-owned land upon which IUS-N has built a technical center to house its servers and other technical facilities.
— To provide, at reduced cost, a full-time digital connection between the IUS-N technical facility and the Government’s Telecom services’ satellite connection to the Internet Backbone in New Zealand.
“RFC 1591 makes a very important stipulation about top level domains and how they should be managed,” said Semich. “To quote, it is appropriate to be concerned about ‘responsibilities’ and ‘service’ to the community.”
“We take this responsibility quite seriously,” he added, “and have made education about, infrastructure development for, and use of the Internet in Niue our primary concern as we continue to aggressively promote use of the .NU domain throughout the world.”
About The Internet Users Society – Niue
The Internet Users Society – Niue (IUS-N) was designated to administer the .NU top level domain (TLD), commonly known as the .NU Country Code TLD (ccTLD), by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), in early 1997. The IUS-N is a private, tax exempt charitable foundation, which was founded in 1997 by J. William Semich in the US and others in Niue with the aim of using .NU domain name registration fees to fund the high costs of satellite-based Internet connectivity in Niue.
The island of Niue (pop 2,000), is the world’s smallest independent self- governed nation, and is a former dependency of New Zealand. Affectionately known as ‘the rock,’ Niue is reputedly the largest upraised coral atoll in the world. A single land mass in the center of a triangle of Polynesian islands, made up of Tonga, Western Samoa and the Cook Islands, Niue is located 2400 km north-east of New Zealand, on the eastern side of the International dateline, and is 11 hours behind Greenwich meantime. The island’s isolation and coral makeup create a rugged coastline and reef which provide intimate swimming coves as opposed to the typical long stretches of sandy beaches so predominant elsewhere in Polynesia. As a result it is a wale-watchers’, snorklers’ and scuba divers’ paradise. The landmass of Niue is 259 sq. km, and 13 villages are found along Niue’s 67-km circle island road.
About .NU Domain Ltd
.NU Domain Ltd, a US-based private corporation, offers the only competitive alternative to Network Solutions Inc.’s .com domain name. The .NU Domain Ltd targets end users and the small office/home office (SOHO) market, as well as Internet users in countries with restrictions on the domain name registration process. The .NU domain is the fastest growing TLD on the Internet. It has registered over 30,000 .NU domain names on the Internet during the past 18 months. Registrations of .NU domain names have doubled in the past six months.
.NU Domain Ltd recently launched a contest whereby anyone who registers a .NU domain name by March 31, 1999, will automatically qualify for a drawing for a one-week, expense paid, vacation for two in Niue.
Current .NU registered customers are located in dozens of counties throughout the world, including Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, Norway, Italy, the UK, Spain, Brazil, New Zealand, Finland, Indonesia, Belgium, Singapore, France, the Canary Islands, Australia, Canada and the Philippines, as well as the US.
The list of registered .NU domain names ranges from personal sites like the Black Velvet Dart Team in Sweden at http://www.blackvelvet.nu to names registered by large corporations including Dell Computer Corporation at http://www.dell.nu, entertainment software publisher, Blizzard Entertainment at http://www.starcraft.nu, the Renault Group at http://www.renault.nu, Visa International at http://www.visa.nu, International Data Group Corp. at http://www.idg.nu, The Coca-Cola Bottling Company at http://www.coca-cola.nu, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. at http://www.goodyear.nu, Hasbro, Inc. and Volkswagen of Sweden’s http://www.beetle.nu.
.NU Domain Ltd also offers domain name parking services for customers who need to lock in a domain name but have no immediate plans to use it, the .NU InstantWeb Forwarding Service that provides URL forwarding for your .NU domain name to a GeoCities, Tripod or other Web site without a unique domain name, .NU InstantEmail Forwarding so AOL, GeoCities, Hotmail and other mail service users can have a unique .NU mail address, and .NU InstantWeb Plus which is a complete Web package, including .NU domain name, Web Hosting or Web Forwarding and email forwarding capabilities. You can visit .NU Domain Ltd on the World Wide Web at http://www.nunames.nu.