Slingshot launches Global Mode – allows access to overseas media

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 like Netflix and Hulu in the US that usually geo-block New Zealanders.

The new feature goes live 1pm today.

While tech-savvy internet users know how to beat geo-blocking, Slingshot has legitimised the practice, and 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. The ISP will take it on faith that a person is a temporary visitor to New Zealand or that they are, for example, hosting a non-NZ resident in their home who has a legitimate right to access services in their home country.

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 Media launch 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.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

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10 Comments & Questions

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Nice to see a NZ company offering something that opens up the world to consumers. Living here can sometimes feel like a little bubble when all the players allow global brands to keep us shut out. Seriously, even more than UFB, letting us all see 'out' could help more innovation with a global focus. (Well, maybe not so much US TV shows...)

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How many non-residents sign up for a 12-month internet plan?

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I think that a lot of New Zealanders have overseas visitors, so a very welcome initiative.

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I wonder how long this will last. As mentioned in the article, it's been tried before by Fyx and it crashed and burned very quickly.

I personally believe there was much more to the Fyx Global Mode being shut down, than what Vocus are letting on - ie, Hollywood and US TV studios shutting them out.

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I bet it won't last a week before they are forced to take it down, just like Vocus.

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I think that it has great potential to be a success. Most internet uses would otherwise watch it illegally online, once it has been aired/released in the US. This allows a great way to keep up with your favourite TV show or recently released movie. After all, majority of people in NZ don't want to wait for TVNZ to air something 6-12 months later, and they don't like the delays in movie releases either.

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How much are you betting? This sounds like a positive step in the right direction of kiwis getting real content at the same time as the rest of the world? Good to see some innovation

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Slingshot haven't said what is available, but I've tried both Netflix and Hulu Plus (US streaming sites) and they both work great!

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What version of Netflix will you get?
Netlfix USA may have have the biggest catalogue, but many of the other countries have newer movies.
Hopefully, they introduce region swtiching for netflix, crackle, etc.

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A way for media giants and middle men to clip the ticket on licences sold for millions. Who really came up with this idea?

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