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Kiwi ISP offers geo-block workaround

No more “second-grade-third-world-digital-boat-people people”

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A newly-launched New Zealand ISP, FYX, promises to try and avoid geo-blocking regimes that restrict access to certain content to residents of a select group of nations.

Geoblocking is particularly annoying in nations beyond Europe and North America, as smaller market sizes and lower profit potential mean content producers make online services a low priority.

A subsidiary of the more staid ISP Maxnet, FYX’s pitch is that Kiwis don't deserve that treatment:

“We all know that New Zealand is the best little country in the world. But sometimes being little means that we get passed over when toys are being handed out by the international gods-of-cool-and-fun.

There is a bunch of stuff on the internet that a few of us didn't have the freedom to access (without stealing it, and we aren't into that). So we decided to FYX the internet by removing some of the barriers that were getting in the way of great choice.”

The company characterises Internet users deprived of its Global Mode as “second-grade-third-world-digital-boat-people” and suggests that customers may be able to “ … start saving a lot of money by getting rid of some other monthly services that may become irrelevant to you”.

All of which sounds very nice, but FYX's FAQs reveal the promise of Global Mode may go unfulfilled, as:

“Global Mode does not guarantee access to any particular or specific websites or content, but works to improve the overall accessibility of content from around the world.”

FYX is also pretty careful to ensure that it does not become a target for Big Content, telling would-be customers that “Many websites, whether available because of Global Mode or not require you to agree to terms and conditions before you start using its service. Global Mode does not negate you from these responsibilities or act on your behalf.”

New Zealand’s National Business Review quotes local lawyer Justin Graham as saying the service is consistent with spirit of New Zealand consumer laws’ aims of providing open access to competitive services.

Whether that stance, and FYX’s disclaimers keep Big Content off the new ISP’s back remains to be seen. But we suspect Sysadmins at sites using geo-blocking are already pulling out the notes they used to block VPN services that offered workarounds similar to Global Mode. ®

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