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.nu is the ccTLD for the country of Niue. The TLD is currently operated by Internetstiftelsen i Sverige, the organization responsible for the management of Sweden's .se TLD.[1]

Ownership Dispute

Early History

The domain was originally delegated to the nonprofit Internet Users Society - Niue (IUS-N), organized by Bill Semich, in 1997.[2][3] As an IT news professional, Semich identified domain ownership as a "business opportunity" and became interested in the domain name industry. He found such an opportunity in .nu.[4] Semich's interest coincided with the international interest in and eventual formation of a governing body for domain names - ICANN.[4] An active participant in the early development of ICANN, Semich was appointed to the DNSO's Names Council in 1999.[5] ICANN and IUS-N entered into an Accountability Framework regarding the maintenance and operation of the .nu domain in 2008.[3] Semich's company WorldNames provided the technical back-end for .nu until 2013.[6] In 2013, WorldNames transferred technical control of the domain to IIS.[7]

Benefits to Niue

IUS-N's primary activities on the island of Niue have been aimed at providing "free wifi" for the residents of the island. Internet Niue was founded in 1997 alongside IUS-N, and provides wireless internet access at no charge after initial setup costs.[8] The service received worldwide press attention in 2003 when it announced that it had developed a nationwide, freely accessible wireless network.[9] However, this claim has since been subject to skepticism amid reports that the wireless service has not been stable or even available in many areas.[6]

Litigation & Administrative Efforts at Redelegation

In December 2020, it was announced that Niue had initiated a proceeding asking ICANN to redelegate the TLD to its control.[2] On December 8, 2020, Niue send its redelegation request to IANA; due to the "complexity and merits of the...matter," Niue also sent the document to the ICANN board of directors, the ccNSO, and the GAC.[10] Active redelegation proceedings are exempt from ICANN's transparency rules; it has been speculated that this is one of the reasons that Niue is broadcasting its request to multiple ICANN bodies, as well as the media.[11]

In February 2022, the Supreme Court of Sweden confirmed that the Government of Niue has standing to sue, despite a lower court ruling in favor of .nu registry IIS’s claims to the contrary two years earlier.[12]