by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Niue’s largest independent internet service provider, Rocket System, has been shut down by the government following a dispute between the company and the government over the providence of free internet services on the island.
Today, the government has allowed the company to resume its services and provide internet service to the island for a month, while the company identifies a way to solve the issue of providing free internet services.
The dispute arose as a result of increased charges by Rocket System, despite the agreement signed in late 1990s, with the use of nu internet domain name that’subsidised wireless access for the island.
However, with the recent introduction of generic domain names, the agreement has seen less profit for the company and could not subsidise the free Wi-Fi service, thus making this a costly exercise for the company, and as a result, the company has increased its charges for the Wi-Fi services.
With the majority of internet users on the island using Rocket System, the government has now allowed the company to provide internet services for a period of one month, while it looks for ways on how it can solve the issue of free internet services as per the signed agreement.
Chief Executive of Rocket System, Emani Lui, when referring to the issue said, “he paid license fees recently and argues that it is unfair that he should provide a free service, when the government-owned Telecom Niue can charge what it likes”.
Niue’s government is hopeful a constructive discussion can be had with the company to resolve the dispute.