"How can I watch the English Premier League in Australia?" This is a question countless Aussie football fans have been asking since Optus stitched up the streaming rights in our country. Non Optus customers now need to pay a separate subscription fee of up to $20 per month; plus a $250 installation fee if they want the satellite service.
If that sounds like a lot of money, you might want to consider VanishedVPN's new Sports Service which includes access to popular sports channels like Sky Sports, Bein sports, BBC, NBC, Fox, CBS and ESPN. In addition to the English Premier League, it provides "free" access to the 2016 Olympics, Cricket, F1, NFL, La Liga, Budesliga and many more. Here's how it works.
VanishedVPN is already one of our favourite VPN providers due to its wily ability to circumvent Netflix's frequent geoblocks. Now, the company is adding another carrot to prospective customers -- unfettered access to premium sports content from around the world at no extra charge. As with Netflix, this content is usually blocked based on location.
"Our main priority is providing a solution for EPL fans who do not have Optus," the company explained to Lifehacker. "[Our sports service] will not only give you access to live EPL streams (live and catchup), but will also unblock legitimate free and premium sports streaming sites across the world, so that anything from NFL in the USA, Cricket in India, F1 in Germany, or La Liga in Spain is now accessible from a single VPN connection."
Rather sportingly (sorry), VanishedVPN isn't charging anything extra for this service, which comes free with its standard VPN subscription. This means you'll be paying as little as $2.99 per month if you opt for the annual package. Here's a break down of the stuff you need to know.
How does it work?
VanishedVPN's Sports Service is essentially an aggregator of online sports channels that usually aren't available in Australia. It provides reliable streams from established broadcasters with all geoblocks removed via extensive testing.
The key difference between this and other VPN services is that VanishedVPN actively targets and unblocks popular sport sites instead of leaving it up to the customer to chase down relevant IP TV streams and swap configs to get everything working. It's a streamlined solution to viewing the sports you're interested in.
"As these [sports] sites are in different countries, we have taken care of the complex routing behind the scenes, so that our customers only need to configure and connect to a single VPN, and then go to the site of their choice to stream the content that they want," the company explained. "We have researched these sites, and provided guides on where to get the best streams."
To get started, simply sign up for a VanishedVPN package, connect the sports VPN and visit the sites shown in the guide (you can find additional setup tips relevant to the English Premiere League here.)
How much does it cost?
As mentioned, VanishedVPN is offering its sports service at no extra charge. (You can see a list of its VPN package prices here.) This also includes a reliable solution for unblocking US and Canadian Netflix.
Note that some channels included in the service require an additional fee. For example, NowTV is a pay per view service with options of daily, weekly and monthly passes. By contrast, StarSports provides completely free coverage (albeit with a five minute delay on live games.) Both provide access to EPL matches.
Is any of this legal?
A bit. The verdict is still out on whether geoblock-dodging is an infringement of copyright. Our own prime minister has gone on record claiming that the practice is not against the law, but the Australian Copyright Council has <a href="http://a differing view. One thing's for sure, you will be violating the terms of agreement of these channels and the bean counters at Optus will probably think you're a dick. But you're not going to get fined or busted by the police. (For now.)
Is it safe to use?
Unlike many VPN providers, VanishedVPN is a genuine business startup registered in Australia. This means they can actually be held accountable if things go wrong. In terms of privacy, the company logs the user’s source IP address, the IP address used by the user, connection start and stop time and total number of bytes used for a period of 30 days. This is kept for the purpose of billing, troubleshooting and “for handling crimes performed over the service.” After 30 day period, all customer data is wiped.
VanishedVPN does not log user’s traffic or the content of any communications, will not perform deep or shallow packet inspection of traffic (unless requested by the customer) and does not throttle users’ internet connections for any reason. The site has HTTPS on payment and account pages.