Tuvalu News

TUVALU DOMAIN NAME DEAL WITH CANADIANS COLLAPSES

By Martyn Williams

TOKYO, Japan (May 19, 1999 – Newsbytes)---The $50 million licensing deal between Canada's TV Corp. and the Government of Tuvalu covering the nation's ".tv" Internet domain has collapsed after the Canadian company failed to come up with promised payments.

"They defaulted two times so we are making arrangements to drop that deal with the Canadian company," Secretary to the Government, Saufatu Sopoaga, told Newsbytes.

Canada's The .TV Corp. hoped to make a mint from selling domain names within Tuvalu's name space to broadcasters so they could use domain names such as "abc.tv" rather than current ".com" or national domains. It was offering the names in return for a one-off payment of $1,000 and annual payments of $500.

The deal was announced last year and specified an initial lump-sum payment of $50 million followed by licensing revenues. At the end of the year, when the payment failed to materialize, a team from Tuvalu visited Canada to renegotiate the deal.

After the Canadian company defaulted on the second agreement, which sources say specified a payment of between $10 million and $12 million by February 28, the government decided to break off negotiations.

"The Canadian company did not have the resources nor the drive needed for the one-man operation to be successful," a source familiar with the negotiations told Newsbytes.

At the Toronto-based The .TV Corporation, a spokesperson was not immediately available and automated voice mail answered all calls.

The Tuvalu Government is keen, however, to license its Internet domain name, which is potentially the nation's greatest resource. Home to around 10,000 people, the main industry throughout the islands is fishing and the government gets by on an annual budget of a few million dollars. A deal to license its national domain holds the promise of revolutionizing life on the islands.

"Just last week the Minister for Works and Communications and his secretary traveled to Los Angeles to see if they can pick up where they left off last time. We are talking to a different company altogether," said Sopoaga. He declined to divulge the identity of the new partner but said the new deal would be of similar size to the collapsed Canadian deal.

Reported By Newsbytes News Network, http://www.newsbytes.com


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