​Watching US Netflix in Australia just got harder

Aussie VPN provider uFlix says it's too time consuming and expensive to get around Netflix geoblocks.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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Australian Netflix customers are going to have a tougher time watching geoblocked movies and TV shows after local VPN provider uFlix announced it has pulled support for unblocked Netflix content.

The Melbourne-based company promises its users access to overseas content normally unavailable in Australia -- through services such as Hulu, HBO Now and BBC iPlayer -- for a monthly fee. But as of August 25, users will no longer be able to use uFlix to get their Netflix fix.

The company made the announcement in a blog post, telling customers it had "put in a great amount of time, money and energy into keeping Netflix unblocked," but doing so had ultimately proven too costly and time-consuming.

VPN providers like uFlix build their whole name (quite literally) on providing access to services such as Netflix. But the US content streaming giant has set out to disrupt the business model of VPN providers, announcing earlier this year that it would actively work to stop people getting around its geoblocks.

"Those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are," Netflix vice president of content delivery architecture David Fullagar said in January.

And if the words of uFlix are anything to go by, that strategy has worked.

"Every time we set up a new network or find a workaround it is getting blocked within hours," uFlix said on its blog.

"We have usually been up and running within a couple of hours of each ban...In recent weeks the bans have steadily progressed, sometimes to multiple times per day. It simply is not viable to keep supporting a channel like that."

uFlix says it will "fill the gap" by offering Amazon Instant Video as an unblocked channel, and it will resume unblocking Netflix if the company decides to "turn it back a notch."

But with deep pockets, valuable licensing deals with content producers and studios, and a stated objective to stop VPNs, that might not be any time soon.

Netflix has been contacted for comment.