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BDFL - Memuneh
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Topic # 120944 19-Jun-2013 13:00
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Just received:


Slingshot is launching a new product called Global Mode, aimed at providing overseas visitors with similar internet accessibility as they would have in their home country.

Scott Page, General Manager of Slingshot, says overseas visitors who benefit from rich online experiences back home, will no longer have to feel like second class internet citizens when they are visiting New Zealand.

Historically, international internet users have been impeded from accessing some of the content and websites that they would regularly enjoy at home, creating a negative impression of New Zealand’s broadband and communication capabilities.

“We're passionate about the potential of broadband and what it has to offer, and in particular, the growing number of rich cloud and content services that are currently being developed. Unfortunately, New Zealanders are comparatively hobbled in their access to many international services with broadband.

“While Global Mode doesn't necessarily change the online landscape for New Zealand consumers today; it does improve the experience for international visitors to our country,” says Page.

Although Slingshot’s new product is a service that is already available in many other countries around the world, it is only intended to be used by international visitors in New Zealand.

“We hope the launch of Global Mode will encourage discussion about the restrictions New Zealand broadband consumers face when it comes to internet access and the availability of overseas content,” continues Page.

Global Mode is available free on all Slingshot broadband connections, and the facility can be added online via their Slingshot account.


Talked to Scott Page earlier today and he said this is a network side configuration only, no software needed and it takes around ten minutes to be activated. There's no time limit and it will be active in the user's account until it's turned off.

Also note for Global Mode to work YOU MUST BE USING THE SLINGSHOT DNS:
  • Primary: 202.180.64.10
  • Secondary: 202.180.64.11




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  Reply # 839296 19-Jun-2013 13:04
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Am I understanding correctly, that this is similar to that service called Fyx when it launched? Allowing your home internet connection to appear anywhere in the world to bypass geo-restrictions?

Wasn't there legal issues with this setup? Isn't that why that had to stop offering that service?




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  Reply # 839299 19-Jun-2013 13:10
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Interesting move.

I wonder if the 'international visitors' would need to send Slingshot a photocopy of their passport?



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  Reply # 839300 19-Jun-2013 13:11
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NZCoderGuy: Wasn't there legal issues with this setup? Isn't that why that had to stop offering that service?


There was no legal issues back then. They simply had the ISP sold to Vocus and the new owners didn't want to provide the service. 

Slingshot makes it clear this is for "visitors" when they're using your connection. Take as you want...







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  Reply # 839301 19-Jun-2013 13:12
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jonb: I wonder if the 'international visitors' would need to send Slingshot a photocopy of their passport?


The service is activated by the customer using the control panel for the account. That's it all that is required.






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  Reply # 839302 19-Jun-2013 13:12
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freitasm:
NZCoderGuy: Wasn't there legal issues with this setup? Isn't that why that had to stop offering that service?


There was no legal issues back then. They simply had the ISP sold to Vocus and the new owners didn't want to provide the service. 

Slingshot makes it clear this is for "visitors" when they're using your connection. Take as you want...



Oh my appologies - I miss-understood that situation with Fyx. Thanks for clearing that up.




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  Reply # 839303 19-Jun-2013 13:13
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And interesting proposition for those "international" users with unblockus...




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  Reply # 839304 19-Jun-2013 13:15
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claiming it is for guests from overseas to access their services (nudge nudge wink wink) is good way to get around the potential problems for an ISP doing this service.




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  Reply # 839307 19-Jun-2013 13:17
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I would say any ISP would have a safe harbour anyway... what the users do with their connection is not their problem, unless illegal.





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  Reply # 839313 19-Jun-2013 13:24
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Good on Slingshot, this is how the internet should be. Geo restrictions are just ridiculous. I know it's a pretty huge dream, but the world needs to stop seeing the internet on a per country basis.

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  Reply # 839315 19-Jun-2013 13:26
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freitasm: I would say any ISP would have a safe harbour anyway... what the users do with their connection is not their problem, unless illegal.



I wasn't meaning about legality, more that if they promoted it as a way for NZ consumers to access netflix etc, then netflix changes its requirements about credentials to something that makes it impossible to access (e.g. requires a US social security number, driving licence or something) then they would have to pull the service entirely, and possibly refund customers who signed a contract on the basis of that.

By stating it is for visitors they skirt around that issue and so any customer who signs a contract with slingshot cannot back out if netflix stops working because that was never part of the contract.


A guy from Internode in ozzie had a good post on the subject when Fyx launched.


http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1914441


"Frankly its something I've often pondered doing. To the extent that from time to time we've done some internal design exercises to work out what it might look like.

There might well (also) be legal grey areas too – and we'd need to look at that if it ever got serious as well, but before it even gets that far, there are technical/practical considerations that get in the way, which I'll spend a while trying to explain below.

As you have indicated, we have routers, servers, and rack space in other countries already, so operating one of several possible forms of VPN server and/or NAT based session rewrite and/or application level gateway service (e.g. a Socks proxy etc) in the USA and/or Europe... it all works in theory.

There turn out to be barriers to an ISP doing it in practice, including the expectation management one, if the big content providers simply chose to block our IP ranges because they decided we were intentionally circumventing geoblocking.
How would that happen? Because we'd be offering it to customers who were essentially only doing it for that purpose, and it winds up being quite easy for a Netflix or Hulu to identify such proxied sources and block them, based on technical tests as simple as end to end latency (e.g. > 150 milliseconds round trip time for a connection generally implies 'out of this country'). It can also be done based on administrative tests ("who is the owner of the IP range concerned, and is that a non-USA ISP?").

For a commercial VPN provider based in the USA, and not associated with an ISP, this issue doesn't occur because they are servicing customers from both 'in country' and outside of it. Hence a pure latency/routing based test doesn't get them blocked – because they'd be blocking the 'good/legit/internal' along with the 'bad' (for some value of 'bad' for which opinions vary).

So, now lets imagine that Internode fielded such a service, and 6 months later, having got a great name for it, and having had people sign up because of it, the service then suddenly stopped working for major content services like Netflix, as they caught up with us doing this... and they would catch up with us preciselybecause it got popular and hence because it got us noticed.

Then, we'd wind up being crucified by, well, by you guys, as examples of customers who have signed up 'just because of this'. Customers who would then say that we touted ourselves as being the ISP of choice because of this.Those customers would then start demanding exit from their contracts with no penalty because it no longer did what they expected (not withstanding that the underlying service itself would continue to work just fine – it'd just be Netflix etc who had blocked us) and would spend the next two years telling everyone who posts in "Choosing an ISP" not to trust Internode because they did this 'bait and switch' thing.Not a place we'd want to knowingly put ourselves (or our customers), really, is it?

If we tried getting into an arms race with content providers in terms of rotating IP addresses in use to try to avoid the block, we'd run out of legs pretty quick there too, now that IPv4 address ranges are no longer easy to get.If we paid a commercial VPN provider to do it for us, then we'd be pretty silly not to on-charge those costs to our customers – at which point we're not doing anything you can't do directly with such a commercial provider by paying them direct.So (without it being in any sense a cop-out), I haven't yet figured out how to make such a thing work in practice, in a manner in which we could safely believe that it'll keep doing what you probably want of it, sustainably over the medium to long term.

This leaves two obvious paths:

a) just use a commercial VPN service – there are heaps of them, they generally work, and they aren't very expensive at all. If you can't justify, say, US$50 a year, then I reckon you don't really want this very much after all, and are just looking for a free lunch. Thats ok, but we aren't the ones to provide it in this case (see above).

b) wait for hollywood to get with the program and drop geoblocking along with dropping release windowing. I personally think its only a matter of time, but obviously its entirely up to them, not up to us, in terms of when that time really is.I don't know how the NZ ISP concerned is doing it, and whether they've found some magic pudding we haven't thought of.

But if, in six months, you see them unexpectedly withdrawing the service in the face of customer complaints that Netflix suddenly blocked them... well, put it this way – I wouldn't personally be all that surprised.
If there is some magic pudding they have, that fixes the above, then I'd like to know what it is, because then we'd have a reason to revisit this opportunity differently, and there would be a point in considering the legal aspects a little further as well.

I also think its the experience with other elements of value-added-at-no-extra-cost that we've provided over time, and the litany of threats from customers if we ever look like we might take such things away again despite never having charged more for them up front, *or* if they stop working perfectly despite being provided at no extra cost in the first place, that have collectively made us somewhat gun-shy here as well, in terms of potentially doing that to ourselves again in a new realm.

Doing it yourself (privately, via a VPN service provider operating OTT) and hence circumventing geoblocking on a private basis is, as a result, quite different to having an ISP do it as a value-add to our service, even if it doesn't look that way at face value to a customer.Its not entirely dissimilar to the challenge that book sellers have in Australia...

To their chagrin, it is illegal for a bricks and mortar business in Australia to grey-market books and re-sell them, as a commercial business. But its not, in practice, an issue if private individuals buy from Amazon and have the very same books shipped direct, individually, to their homes.
To make the previous para more clear – your local bookstore isn't even allowed to buy the book you want on Amazon, import it to their place, and then resell it to you.Summary: Sometimes the pragmatic answer is to live below the noise floor.

Regards,
Simon"


I also wonder whether this will have any impact on Slingshot's Igloo deal.  I cant imagine Sky being too happy about this service being offered which is, lets face it, obviously a way to beat geoblocking on Netflix.



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  Reply # 839320 19-Jun-2013 13:31
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freitasm: WALL OF TEXT! Didn't read any of that.


Lol, made the first line before I skipped it.

This is a good differentiator for slingshot...




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  Reply # 839322 19-Jun-2013 13:36
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how long will it take for their IP's to be blocked?






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  Reply # 839323 19-Jun-2013 13:37
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  Reply # 839327 19-Jun-2013 13:39
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freitasm: WALL OF TEXT! Didn't read any of that.


sorry, the forum reformatted it as it posted for some reason, removing all paragraphs.  I have edited

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