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December 30, 2019 02:47 pm

Tuvalu is a Tiny Island Nation of 11,000 People. Licensing of Its .tv Domain Contributes 1/12th To Its Annual Gross National Income

The internet's full power remains relatively unknown to many people on the tiny island nation Tuvalu (located halfway between Hawaii and Australia), but its evolution has made Tuvalu's .tv domain one of its most valuable resources. From a report: Thanks to the rise of livestreamed programming and competitive video gaming, Tuvalu earns about 1/12th of its annual gross national income (GNI) from licensing its domain to tech giants like Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch through the Virginia-based company Verisign. And in 2021, when Tuvalu's contract with Verisign expires, that percentage figures to push significantly higher. [...] Compulsory public education has brought the nation's adult literacy rate up to nearly 99 percent, and the World Bank classifies Tuvalu as an upper-middle-income economy, with its territorial fishing rights accounting for the biggest chunk of its GNI at an estimated $19 million in license fees in 2018. But another sizable portion stems directly from its licensing of its .tv URL suffix, thanks to the recent surge in streaming sites. As sites utilizing .tv grow in prominence, Tuvalu's domain on the web may eventually supersede that of its seas. Few Tuvaluans are able to access the streaming services powered by .tv. The nation's Internet, though widely accessible, is limited to a satellite connection with reduced streaming capacity. However, with more than 140 million people around the world consuming content via and other streaming platforms, the monetary benefits have helped Tuvalu in more tangible ways than entertainment. "[.tv] has provided a certain, sure income," said Seve Paeniu, Tuvalu's Minister of Finance. "It enables the government to provide essential services to its people through providing schooling and education for the kids, providing medical services to our people, and also in terms of improving the basic economic infrastructure and service delivery to our communities." To monetize .tv, the government of Tuvalu has negotiated a series of agreements allowing foreign companies to market the top-level domain for commercial use. Under the current deal, signed in 2011, Virginia-based network infrastructure firm Verisign pays Tuvalu around $5 million per year for the right to administer .tv. For a nation whose annual domestic revenues tend to hover around $60 million, this is a substantial benefit.

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