5. Paradise domain

Posted: 29 June 2001

What's in a name? To a tiny nation in the South Pacific, plenty. The country is Tuvalu, and thanks to the Internet domain name registry, Tuvalu looked as if it might be about to hit it rich.

Tuvalu is a string of coral rocks in the South Pacific: nine low-lying islands that make up one of the world's smallest, most isolated countries. Largely unknown to tourists, Tuvalu and its 9,000 people suffer from underdevelopment and a lack of jobs. It's a country so poor that four or five fishermen are lost every year because they can't afford compasses for their boats.

Other than fishing, people get by harvesting coconuts - pretty much the only thing the soil will grow. But Tuvalu had one valuable asset: its coveted domain name - dot tv. In 1999, the prime minister determined to capitalise on this by selling the name to a Pasadena dot.com company in exchange for several million dollars and access to the new wired-up world.

But, this film asks, who's benefiting most?: the Tuvalu islanders themselves, used to a relaxed, Pacific way of life with few mod cons, or the Pasadena corporation? Paradise Domain explores this tale of digital divide.

This film forms part of TVE's Life Series ll on City Life. For a copy of this 30-minute film, contact:

Distribution Office
Prince Albert Road
London NW1 4RZ

Tel: +44 (0)20 7586 5526
Fax: +44 (0)20 7586 4866
Email: tve-dist@tve.org

To order online, visit TVE's Moving Pictures catalogue.