The domain was originally delegated to the nonprofit Internet Users Society - Niue (IUS-N), organized by Bill Semich, in 1997. 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. Semich's interest coincided with the international interest in and eventual formation of a governing body for domain names - ICANN. An active participant in the early development of ICANN, Semich was appointed to the DNSO's Names Council in 1999. ICANN and IUS-N entered into an Accountability Framework regarding the maintenance and operation of the .nu domain in 2008. Semich's company WorldNames provided the technical back-end for .nu until 2013. In 2013, WorldNames transferred technical control of the domain to IIS.
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. The service received worldwide press attention in 2003 when it announced that it had developed a nationwide, freely accessible wireless network. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
- IANA Root Database
- Business Insider AU - 'Digital colonisation': A tiny island nation just launched a major effort to win back control of its top-level internet domain, Dec. 16, 2020
- .nu Accountability Framework (PDF)
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette, March 29, 2006: On a Tiny Island, Catchy Web Name Sparks a Battle
- Nunames.nu Press Release, August 4, 1999
- Domain Incite, April 22, 2011: Niue: the myth of the 'Wifi Nation'
- Nunames.nu Press Release, January 9, 2013
- InternetNiue.nu - "About" page
- See, e.g. BBC News - 'Polynesians get free wireless web'
- Revocation and Redelegation Request Regarding the ccTLD .NU (PDF)
- Domain Incite: Island Demands Return of its "Naked" ccTLD
- Supreme Court Allows Fight for .Nu to Continue, DomainIncite