Kiwis to farewell 'global mode' browsing

TV broadcasters build crumbling wall around New Zealand

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New Zealand ISPs' experiment with bundled VPN services is over: CallPlus has settled a lawsuit by agreeing to axe its Global Mode service on September 1.

The on-again, off-again, on-again service let CallPlus customers get around geoblocks by giving them a US IP address, and the country's TV broadcasters were outraged and launched a lawsuit in April.

Both Slingshot and Orcon, another high-profile NZ ISP, were targeted.

The line-up of plaintiffs included Sky Television, Television New Zealand, Mediaworks and Lightbox.

The service was launched and withdrawn in 2012, and revived in 2014 as an automatic offering to all customers. CallPlus – which is currently on the way to being taken over by Australian telco M2 – owns the slingshot, Orcon and Flip brands, and the Global Mode offering was created by Bypass Network Services.

The settlement gags the parties from making further comment. However, InternetNZ has said the settlement is “disappointing” because it leaves the question of geoblocking circumvention in a legal grey area.

As InternetNZ CEO Jordan Carter told Fairfax, having the issue go before a court would “provide users and the industry with clarity”.

With the law unresolved, TV broadcasters will instead have to go back to complaining about Kiwi netizens setting up their own VPN access, so they can breach Netflix terms of service. ®

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