Well, that didn’t last long. 48 hours after turning the switch on its geo-block bypassing service “Global Mode”, New Zealand ISP FYX has shut down the whole shebang after attracting “a lot of heat from up high”.
Tried watching a video, only to be told it’s not available in your region? How about a neat website that arbitrarily denies you access because you’re not in the US? The internet has shattered many barriers since its inception, yet geo-blocking remains one of those annoying and poorly-justified limitations on our ability to access international content.
FYX’s solution was its so-called “Global Mode”, which it says would allow users to view region-restricted content without having to stuff around with proxy software or browser extensions. In FYX’s own words (courtesy of The Register):
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.
FYX opened the doors to Global Mode with cheek, describing Kiwis as “second-grade-third-world-digital-boat-people” when it came to geo-blocked content (though the label certain applies to Australians as well).
The Register wrote of the launch on the 10th as well as FYX’s announcement yesterday that it would be pulling the plug.
The ISP’s media page features a short statement regarding Global Mode’s brief existence and while it mentions that “legal opinions” give the service the all-clear, it would “require further consideration” before there’s any chance of reactivating Global Mode.
A post on the ISP’s Twitter feed provides a little more insight:
Long story, but a lot of heat from up high, despite legal opinion say [sic] we are doing nothing wrong. We hope this will be temp.
While connecting to a proxy isn’t a major hassle, it’s hard to argue that not having to worry about it at all would be straight up better. I wonder if any local ISPs will take a page from FYX’s book and attempt a similar service here (despite Internode CEO Simon Hackett pointing out the difficulties of proper implementation)?
Image: Stuart Cale