Did you expect that you could continue to watch Australian TV online when you moved overseas, only to find that access to the content on the website was blocked to users outside Australia? A Virtual Private Network (VPN) may be the answer you are looking for, and also offers many other benefits for Australian Expats.
What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
According to Wikipedia, a VPN extends a private network across a public network (such as the Internet). It enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. It is like sending all your internet data through a tunnel, protecting that data from would-be hackers using a network of secure and encrypted servers around the world. The websites you visit, credit card numbers that you enter, and a host of other sensitive information is protected. You can use a VPN from any location with an internet connection, so no matter where you are your information remains secure.
In addition, and critically for a number of the benefits we will discuss in the next section of this article, a VPN can use the IP addresses of a country other than the country where you live. This has the effect of making it appear you are accessing a website from a country different to the one you are actually located in.
What are the Benefits for Expats in using a VPN?
- Protect yourself from hackers – all your data is encrypted so you don’t need to worry about your passwords and other sensitive information being intercepted
- Protect your identity – VPN encryption can also protect your emails, skype conversations, online banking and everything else you do and see online.
- You can turn an unsecure public wifi connection into a secure internet connection
- Access content on a website that may be restricted to people within a certain geographical location (eg. you can watch Australian TV online such as ABC iview, ten play, or my favourite newsreader Lee Lin Chin on SBS World News)
- Prevents websites from charging you a different price based on your geographical location and browsing history, or access cheaper pricing that is offered to residents of different countries around the world. Check out this interesting infographic here on how sites like expedia take advantage of the information you share with them.
- Safe, secure, easy to install / uninstall.
- Usually no technical experience is required to setup on your computer and other internet devices
Is using a VPN legal?
If you are using a VPN for legal purposes, a Virtual Private Network is considered legal in most countries. In fact, many major companies provide VPN technology to their employees so they can access confidential files from remote computers.
Some countries have either outlawed or restricted the use of Virtual Private Networks to ensure their citizens are unable to access certain websites, or enable them to monitor online movements of its citizens. So it is important to check the local laws before using a VPN, particularly if you are located or travelling through countries like Iran, China, and North Korea.
According to Choice Australia, in Australia “it is legal to use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your online transactions from hackers, and there is little definitive evidence about whether other uses of a VPN breach copyright law”. Choice states “circumventing geo-blocks may breach the terms and conditions of the company you are buying from”. As a result, if a company you are dealing with discovers you are breaching their terms and conditions, you could find your account closed and access to downloads lost.
If you however hide behind a VPN service to perform illegal activities, then you are, of course, violating the law.
How Do I Watch Australian TV Online?
Once you have signed up for a VPN service, it is pretty easy to watch Australian TV online.
When you sign up to a VPN service provider, you should be provided with an easy to use desktop and / or mobile application software. Then you simply select an Australian VPN server from their menu which will automatically assign you an Australian IP address.
You then go to the website with the content you wish to view, and hey presto – you can watch Australian TV online!
Choosing the Right VPN
This can be the tricky bit. Not all VPN’s are created equally. Since moving overseas we have tested a number of VPN service providers however found the speed of the Australian servers very slow, and consequently when trying to watch videos being streamed over the internet it was too slow to be useful.
We are currently using Express VPN with much success, and I am happy to recommend it. Express VPN do offer a 30 day money back guarantee so you can trial the service first to ensure that the speeds meet your requirements. If choosing to use another VPN service provider, make sure you test out their service during the free trial period, or take out a 1 month subscription to make sure the speeds are acceptable before committing to a longer term contract.
I am keen to hear from you and what your experience has been. Share with the Australian Expat community by leaving a comment below.
Disclaimer : The information contained on this website is intended only as general commentary and does not purport to be comprehensive. No warranty is provided as to the accuracy. It should not be regarded as tax, financial, or legal advice. Remember, the value of an investment can go down as well as up, and you should seek professional advice that considers your personal situation and country of residence before taking action. The Australian Expat Investor may receive a referral commissions for some services and products mentioned on this website.