19 Apr 2016

Niue internet provider cries foul over government demands

10:21 am on 19 April 2016

Niue's largest internet provider says it's unreasonable for the government to continue to demand a free service from it.

Rocket Systems says it will follow a government directive and shut off its internet services at 9 am tomorrow.

The administrator of the .nu domain site, the Internet Users Society Niue, acquired the rights in the 1990s, and through this it has subsidised wireless access on the island.

But the chief executive of the provider company, Rocket Systems, says the recent introduction of generic domain names means .nu is a less profitable venture, and this has forced it to charge for wifi access.

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Photo: RNZ

The government says the charge is unfair and concerning, and that Rocket Systems has not sought appropriate regulatory approval.

But Mr Lui said he paid licence fees as recently as a month ago, and argued it was unfair that he should provide a free service, when government-owned Telecom Niue can charge what it likes.

"The only thing that's in the way of Telecom Niue right now is that there's another ISP (internet service provider) and now that we're asking users to pay extra charges, so now we're being asked to move out of its sector."

Emani Lui says he is open to working with the government to avoid the switch off, which will cut internet access for most of the island's population.

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