Update: Netflix has since told Engadget that they have not changed their policy. Here’s the latest:
Netflix tells us that there’s been “no change” in the way it handles VPNs, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the company getting tough any time soon. With that said, these blocking errors started showing up in the past few weeks, so it’s not clear what would have prompted them.
For many, Netflix is the service of choice for those who wish to pay a small fee in exchange for all the television programs and movies that they can consume. In fact, a recent study revealed that Netflix accounts for approximately one third of all traffic sent across the public Internet in North America alone, and its presence in Australia is growing over time. Sandvine reports:
“Netflix continues to dominate North American networks accounting for 34.9% of downstream traffic in peak evening hours. Interestingly in Australia, where Netflix isn’t even available yet, approximately 2.5% of subscribers are accessing Netflix, which now comprises 4% of downstream traffic.”
If you are an Australian resident, the key words to take from the above passage are that “Netflix isn’t even available yet”, although that is set to change come March of this year.
In order to counter geoblocks implemented by Netflix, budding subscribers rely on anonymising services that grant them access to their account from wherever they reside. It is estimated that as many as 200,000 Australians are already using the popular streaming service, with that number on a steady incline.
Now, it seems, Netflix may be taking a stand against all of this tomfoolery. Torrent Freak has reported that several IP ranges allocated to Virtual Private Network service providers have been targeted and blocked from accessing Netflix’s content library. In addition, recent updates to the official Netflix application for Android OS have resulted in DNS resolution requests force directed to servers hosted by Google Incorporated. All of this, and more, has also been noted on popular user-generated news site, Reddit.
Reactions from the online world have been mixed in the wake of this news, with a general consensus that the decision to deny users access to Netflix content based on their locale will simply lead to an additional growth in movie and television piracy– a behaviour which streaming services are supposed to curb, and combat.
With Netflix set to arrive in Australia early this year, along with some healthy competition in the form of Stan and Presto, 2015 is shaping up to be a year which will take yet more strides into territory that defines, and arguably redefines, how we watch video.
What are your thoughts? Provide them in the form of a comment, below!