World's First Wireless Island Network Shutdown Over Legal Squabble

from the time-to-pay-up dept

So much for that plan. The small island of Niue, near Australia, made a bit of news last June when it announced that the entire island was covered with a free WiFi network – which was promoted as a way to bring more tourists to the small island nation. It appears, however, that the Minister of Tourism didn’t communicate with the Minister of Telecom in the nation, and the network has been shut down by the Telecom Minister for not having paid for a “radio license”. Those who run the network say that WiFi is exempt from the nation’s laws requiring radio licenses, but the bureaucrats apparently want their license fee. Considering the island only has a population of about 2,000 (which has been rapidly decreasing), you would think it would make sense for them to quickly work out a compromise that would help them attract tourists back to the island again.

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Comments on “World's First Wireless Island Network Shutdown Over Legal Squabble”

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dorpus says:

Try Nauru

Probably the world’s ugliest tropical island, it resembles a lunar landscape of craters and dead trees. The island used to be the world’s foremost deposit of phosphates, buried under 50 feet of bird shit. Now it’s been all mined out, so residents receive generous welfare benefits from Australia. Incidentally, the nation has a 100% obesity rate, making it the fattest nation on Earth. The island’s airline has been known to become unavailable for a few days at a time whenever politicians decide they want to take their family somewhere.

Richard StClair (user link) says:

Niue's Wireless Access

The wireless networks in Niue are not shut down. They are in fact running better than ever and growing very rapidly.
What happened back in September of 2003 was that the director of Telecom Niue ordered the dark copper to the downtown Internet cafe “cut”, basically because he didn’t understand the difference between DSL and wifi.
Then mysteriously, a couple weeks later, the government opened up their own Internet cafe.
But the wifi was not shut down. The whole episode was a futile attempt at keeping wifi technology from the people of Niue, and it failed.
At this point about a third of the wifi users are government and the rest are private sector. The wireless is especially important after the cyclone in January which destroyed a major chunk of the telephone line infrastructure.
But make no mistake, the wifi on Niue is going strong and is a major part of Niue’s communications infrastructure.
I just came across your statements about the wifi on Niue and wanted to set it straight.

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