Singaporean ISP ViewQwest has launched a new built-in VPN service with its 4K set top box so users can access sites like Netflix.
ViewQwest’s Freedom VPN is targeted at subscribers looking to circumvent geo-blocks. The ISP operates in Singapore and Malaysia, where the likes of Netflix and HBO Go are not available yet.
Previously the VPN service was only available to direct ISP subscribers. Now anyone that purchases its set top box will have access to its Freedom VPN for one year with the option to renew on a monthly basis after that.
“Traditionally if you wanted to be able to enjoy our VPN [service], you would have needed to terminate your current provider and switch,” said Vignesa Moorthy, ViewQwest CEO. “Now we’re saying, fine you’re stuck [in a two-year contract], we’ll still enable you – hopefully through that, we build a relationship with you.”
The offer is launching in Singapore to begin, with a Malaysian launch penciled in for the future.
This isn’t the first time that an ISP has opted for building in its own VPN service. Last year the New Zealand ISP Slingshot released its Global Mode feature in response to high prices for streaming services and the lack of options (Netflix has since launched in the country).
Slingshot faced ridicule from rights holders and the traditional cable TV industry. Netflix for example signs unique rights deals to stream content in each individual market. So called “Netflix pirates” are abusing those arrangements by circumventing geo-blocks, say many critics.
Slingshot also saw many of its ads for Global Mode and its ISP service in general banned from television stations, owing to accusations of piracy.
Vignesa and ViewQwest say they will comply with local restrictions if they have to but will continue to offer the VPN until that time.
“If the regulator in the country wants to say no, then tell us to block all VPN providers and we will comply,” he said.