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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 (S NFLX) 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.”