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Slingshot, a local ISP in New Zealand, has added a new “global mode” to its Internet plans that allows its customers to access video services such as Netflix or Hulu.
Slingshot’s global mode is essentially a VPN, so it reroutes any traffic through servers situated in other countries, so Slingshot subscribers using global mode may look like they’re located in New York as opposed to Auckland.
Netflix and other media services 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. Internet users from outside of the US 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 probably violates the terms 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.”