Tuvalu fact of the day

Nearly 25 years later, the internet’s full power remains relatively unknown to many people on the island, but its evolution has made Tuvalu’s .tv domain one of its most valuable resources. 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…

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 Twitch.tv and other streaming platforms, the monetary benefits have helped Tuvalu in more tangible ways than entertainment.

Here is the full story, there are about 11,000 Tuvaluns.  For the pointer I thank Shaffin.


Dns is so dumd. They found a way to superimpose scarcity on the nearly post-scarcity landscape of the worldwide web. I hope it dies in the next iteration of the internet. Of course then there will be some kind of market for catchy public encryption keys or something, but at least it wouldn't be baked into the underlying infrastructure.

There are competing forces at work. As the internet penetrates more homes the value of easily recalled domain names increases. However, as apps/search/browser tools improve domain names become less important.

My guess is that technology will win out and that the value of domain names will dwindle over time.

Dear Tuvaluans:

Ditch you 11,000 television sets and internet connections NOW--your island enjoys only a fifteen foot elevation above sea level, and as long as native awareness persists, you'll never need the TVs or the internet devices to inform you of prevailing meteorological, climatological, or oceanological conditions.

If microplastics have begun showing up in your diet, you might want to find a more hospitable site soon.


E. Burke

They should offer all tourists free drinks if they bring with them a suitcase full of sand. Then dump it on the center of the island. In time they will have a bigger and higher island.

LeBron James is the top public intellectual of our time, and his views on Hong Kong are worth listening to.


...yeah, ultimately it's a negative market intervention by government.

the Pacific microstate of Tuvalu is renting a bit of its contrived government sovereignty as a shield against the sovereign rules imposed by big nations against commercial internet companies.

The .tv domain licensing rules are scant -- Tuvalu isn't interested in strict enforcement of Copyright restrictions, for example.

I've been to Tuvalu. The internet is abysmal. You can barely pull up a single webpage in the middle of the day.

There are no ATM's in the entire country and the country does not accept credit cards.

They would certainly benefit from channeling some of that money into a fiber connection to the rest of the world.

Presumably the government of Tuvalu is content to have a low-information populace. Governments like it that way.

The "big government" of these 11,000 people seems surprisingly focused on building schools and having people study in Australia if their goal is to keep people ignorant.

A submarine fibre optic cable, presumably to Fiji, is planned. Maybe $8 million to lay and maybe $30 million to actually get done. So about as efficient as Australia. This will get their internet bandwidth per person up to where mine was in an Australian capital 2 years ago.

I don't understand the legal landscape. Tuvalu's contract with Verisign express in 2021, and then what? Are there alternatives to Verisign that Tuvalu can then bargain with?

Suppose Alex wants to set up streaming video on marginalrevolution.tv so we could all watch Tyler eat. Does he rent the domain from Verisign? Or is Verisign just a gatekeeper that says he can't occupy that domain without Prof of a license from Tuvalu? And is Verisign's role established by treaty?

Tonga has a similar thing going on with the .to Top Level Domain.

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