Whether you know this term or not, you’ve probably experienced it on the internet in some shape or form. Whether it was a blocked website, youtube video, or streaming service, geo-blocking is one of the biggest ways our internet is restricted around the globe.
What is geo-blocking?
Geo-blocking is a method that companies & websites use to make sure that only people in a specific geographic location are able to access a certain site or service. That website is able to tell where you geographically are by checking your device’s IP address.
A good example of this would be in the case of BBC iPlayer. The British Broadcasting Corporation is a public service broadcaster in the U.K run by the British government. The company is funded by tax payers in the United Kingdom; therefore, it is free to all British citizens.
The BBC originally was broadcasting via radio and television in the U.K, but, moving along with technology, they starting streaming their content online. This online service is called BBC iPlayer which allows users to watch live and on-demand movies, TV shows, and sporting events. However, to make sure that it’s only U.K residents accessing their services, BBC iPlayer first checks visitor’s IP addresses to make sure they are originating from the U.K.
If someone outside of the U.K were trying to access BBC iPlayer, they would get this exact message above. They get this because BBC iPlayer has checked their IP address and know that they are not located in the U.K.
How to bypass geo-blocks
When British people are abroad, whether traveling or living, they want to still watch BBC’s content. One of the most popular ways to do this is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using a VPN allows users to connect to U.K servers from anywhere in the world. When a user connects to a British server, they are immediately given a British IP address. So the next time they head over to BBC iPlayer, they will be able to watch all of it’s content.
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There are other things that you could do besides accessing geo-blocked content. If you’re a big NBA or NFL fan, check out some of our cool tips below for a hack to make your passes cheaper and blackout-free!
However, the new ruling doesn’t affect current restrictions for “audiovisual” services such as movies and sporting events. So far, what we know is that the ruling now covers the consumers by giving access to:
● Buying goods (i.e. household appliances, clothes) even when the trader does not deliver them in the consumer’s member state of residence, if there is an option to collect the goods at an agreed location in another EU country (the proposal does not introduce an obligation to deliver across the EU).
● Receiving online from a trader services not protected by copyright (i.e. cloud services, firewalls, data warehousing, website hosting).
● Receiving e-books, e-music, games or software (i.e. non-audiovisual copyrighted content) if the trader has the right or a licence to use such content for the countries concerned.
● Making a booking outside the consumer’s place of residence (i.e. hotel stays, sports events, car rental, music festivals or leisure park tickets).
Having said that, with Brexit in progress it’s hard to say for sure if the new EU ruling has a dramatic affect on UK services and where the industry could be heading to – when it comes to cross-region content access for “audiovisual” services.
We hope you found this article informative and useful. Please feel free to share it with your friends or family that wants to know what geo-blocking is all about too!
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