It seems that the Niue government is still continuing its quest for a re-delegation of the top-level name dotNU (originally reserved for Niue). At the recent Constitution Celebrations Premier Talagi introduced to the gathering Mr Par Brumark from Sweden. Mr Brumark is Niue’s representative on the Government Advisory Committee of ICANN; he is also the Vice-Chair of ICANN GAC.
Brumark heads a team, consisting largely of volunteers, working to prepare the case to come before the Board of ICANN [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers] and for a court hearing in Sweden. It’s a long way from Alofi to Stockholm, so how come domain name dotNU is about to end up in a legal stoush on the other side of the world? dotNU or .nu is what is known as a top-level domain name originally assigned to Niue.
Some 20-odd years ago, in what now seems like a Galaxy far far away, an American by the name of William Semich acquired the right to administer dotNu. How he acquired that right has been the subject of an on-going dispute between Semich and the Niue Government.
Semich who is said to be an early pioneer in the development of the Internet, set up a company called .Nu Domain Ltd to market the top-level domain name. He also set up IUSN – Internet Users Society Niue, a non-profit organisation established to process whatever funding was received from .Nu Domain Ltd to run a free island-wide internet service for Niue.
In 2013 the Swedish Internet Foundation, in a deal between Semich/IUSN took over the management of .Nu. The Swedish foundation is an independent organisation responsible also for Sweden’s top level domain.
According to Par Brumark there is currently 400,000 registered users of .Nu in Europe, the majority of which is in Sweden. Because ‘nu’ means now in some European languages it is popular domain for Scandinavian websites.
Brumark says the first move for his team will be the court challenge in Sweden where they will argue that the deal between Semich and the Swedish Internet Foundation is unlawful. If successful, the next move is to apply to ICANN for a re-assignment of the right to administer .nu
The free internet service originally set up by IUSN for Niue was taken over in 2013 by local company RockET Systems who runs the Kaniu Network, but not for free. The Network receives a grant from the Swedish Internet Foundation from some of the revenue generated from the sale of .nu.
Kaniu management have made it known that the grant is insufficient to meet all the costs, hence the need to charge a $50 fee per month for their unlimited download service.