Internet domain riches fail to arrive in Tuvalu

The tiny South Pacific island state of Tuvalu, where the average income is little more than £12 a week, has taken on one of the giants of cyberspace by demanding a greater share of the lucrative earnings generated by its unique domain name suffix.When Tuvalu was awarded “.tv” by the International Organisation for Standardisation in 1999, global internet providers queued up to do business with the former British protectorate, which used to be part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. At least five internet companies flew to the remote capital of Funafuti to tender for the right to lease the initials TV so that it could be used by television and media organisations around the world. Eventually a deal was struck with a Californian company which offered an advance payment of $50m (£33m) – more than half Tuvalu’s annual GDP at the time – with many more millions to follow.

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