Global Mode® traffic increase 1200% overnight and featured by Engadget.

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With the recent news about Global Mode® the public feedback has been well received globally. News spread virally once picked up the story. With over 150 articles showing up in 3 days the traffic on the Global Mode® network increased by 1200%.

One of the most frustrating parts of trying to go legit with your movie watching is being restricted by Hollywood’s windows and geofences that limit what’s available to watch in your area. Of course, a network of third parties provide tools to help users go around and through the blocks, but now an ISP is taking the unusual step of getting directly involved. For the last year, New Zealand’s Slingshot has offered a Global Mode VPN feature marketed for use by visitors from the US or UK. As a not-so-secret side effect it also let Kiwis pull in streams from the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and BBC iPlayer, but that wasn’t mentioned — until now. Slingshot General Manager Taryn Hamilton confirmed to the New Zealand Herald that “No beating around the bush. This is to watch Netflix,” ending the ruse and opening it to all subscribers for free.

Questions raised by the move start with whether or not this will cause providers to reinforce their walls — Hulu started blocking VPN users recently — or if the local video providers that have the rights to the content will mount a legal charge. Not coincidentally, the change in advertising arrives just as competing ISP Telecom New Zealand is launching an internet video service of its own for $15 per month, and rumors suggest Netflix will launch an Australian service soon. Both of those will probably have fewer viewing options than services from the US or UK, giving Slingshot an advantage. New Zealand ISP Fyx tried a similar strategy for a few weeks in 2012 before withdrawing the service, we’ll see if support from local consumer groups like Choice help this one last any longer.


GigaOm report incorrectly labels Global Mode® as VPN service, suggests similar models emerging in Singapore.

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Slingshot, a local internet provider in New Zealand, wants to give its subscribers a little extra perk: The ISP just added a new “global mode” to its internet plans that allows its customers to access video services like Netflix or Hulu without getting in trouble for coming from the wrong country (hat tip to Broadband Reports).

Slingshot’s global mode is essentially a VPN, meaning that it reroutes any traffic through servers situated in other countries. Slingshot subscribers using global mode may look like they’re located in New York as opposed to Auckland.

Netflix and other media services tend to block visitors from markets they’re not operating in due to licensing restrictions, and Netflix in particular serves up different content even in its active markets, giving users in Canada access to other titles than users in the U.K. Internet users from outside of the United States have for some time circumvented these kinds of restrictions through paid VPN services, but this may be the first time that an internet provider is offering this kind of circumvention as part of its regular service.

Anyone using this type of VPN likely violates the terms of of service of a streaming site, which is why Slingshot coyly suggests that the service is just for customers who happen to house international visitors:

“We don’t want your guests being treated like second-class citizens just because they are staying in New Zealand. Instead, we want them to have the same rich online experiences as they do in their own country. Global Mode lets them access their favourite international sites and services from your home broadband connection.”


CNet reports New Zealand ISP’s ‘Global Mode®’ gives users access to Netflix

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As reported by CNET.

Video on demand services such as Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go, are geoblocked — that is, people can only subscribe to them if they live in the countries in which they operate. This is, of course, due to distribution rights around TV and movies which are out of step with the current potential of global digital distribution.

For Netflix in particular, many people outside of its regions of availability use VPNs to circumvent the geoblocking and subscribe to the service. It’s been reported by The Australian that Netflix was swayed into pushing into the Australian market because of the number of people already using the service via VPN.

(Consumer watchdog Choice even advocates this practice on the basis that geoblocking is unfair and involves setting higher prices for certain regions.)

Now Slingshot, an ISP in New Zealand, is offering a free service called Global Mode, making it easier than ever for its customers to access geoblocked sites and services. Global Mode appears to be a VPN, but set up on the ISP side, rather a user’s home PC.

On Slingshot’s site, the company had the following to say about Global Mode:

 “Ever tried to go to a website, only to be told you can’t see it because you live in New Zealand? We think that’s bizarre, and it’s why we have introduced Global Mode.

“Global Mode is a brilliant service that lets you visit a range sites that are normally blocked to people from New Zealand. And it’s free for Slingshot broadband customers.”

Interestingly, as spotted by GigaOM, Slingshot’s helpdesk entry for Global Mode has a slightly different take on it:

“We don’t want your guests being treated like second-class citizens just because they are staying in New Zealand. Instead, we want them to have the same rich online experiences as they do in their own country. Global Mode lets them access their favourite international sites and services from your home broadband connection.”

While the debate rages about the legality of using a VPN in these scenarios it’s usually the case that it will violate the terms and conditions of the VOD service at the very least. Suggesting that the user will in fact be a subscriber merely attempting to access their fully legal content while travelling internationally is certainly an intriguing take on the legality of Global Mode.

We’ve contacted Slingshot requesting comment on its Global Mode service, and we’ll update when we hear back.

Updated 2.36pm AEST:

Taryn Hamilton, the general manager of Slingshot has spoken to CNET via email, offering some remarkably candid comments on its Global Mode.

It transpired that Global Mode is a software based solution provided via a third party who built and manage the software. It “allows access to a couple of dozen sites that are normally geoblocked” according to Hamilton.

Global Mode has actually been available for some time, and while it was initially pitched for overseas visitors, we were told that the information in the helpdesk entry linked to above was outdated and needed to be changed:

“We launched Global Mode a year ago and positioned it for overseas visitors. Last week we dropped that pretence, and switched it on for everyone by default,” says Hamilton.

“Like Australia, content options in New Zealand are either too limited or too expensive. We know people want to pay for content, this lets them do so. We think it will help combat piracy. In the long run, we’d like all the content providers to sell directly to New Zealanders — we know that the services would be really popular.”

Slingshot launches Global Mode®

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Slingshot has launched a “Global Mode” option on its accounts – a feature that will allow the ISP’s customers to access TV and movie streaming services that are usually geo-blocked.

The new feature goes live 1pm today.

While tech-savvy internet users know how to beat geo-blocking, Slingshot has made it easy. All you have to do is enable the feature on your account via Slingshot’s website. The company promises it will be enabled within 10 minutes of you opting in.

Global mode is free.

Slingshot (CallPlus’ residential brand) is marketing Global Mode as a service for foreigners visiting New Zealand.

However, Slingshot general manager Scott Page tells NBR there will be no verification process.

Mr Page adds, “We expect all consumers to comply with the terms and conditions of the service providers.” Such terms and conditions usually ban proxy servers and other tools for beating geo-blocking.

Last year, when Maxnet spin-off Fyx launched a short-lived global mode, Chapman Tripp gave the service the legal thumbs up in an independent assessment for NBR. But Fyx parent company, Maxnet, was bought by Australia’s Vocus shortly after and the new owner shut-off the global mode plans.

Vocus told NBR it did not see legal issues, but did not want the complications that went with the controversial service as it refocused Maxnet on business, wholesale and data centre services.

Asked if Callplus has sought legal advice before launching Global Mode, Mr Page said it had but “we always take legal advice on our product launches so this is not extraordinary”.

Slingshot’s news is yet another headache for Sky TV, which is already facing headaches from the pending Coliseum Sports Medialaunch that has seen its shares slump 6%.

Mr Page says Slingshot has around 150,000 customers.

There is clearly interest in the area of geo-block busting. NBR’s story Geo-block busting ISP gets thumbs up from Chapman Tripp, on Maxnet’s short-lived service, was easily this site’s best read article of 2012.

Source: NBR