iiNet subs to get live English soccer games for free

Broadband subscribers to get four live matches from English Premier League every week, building on iiNet's current free download traffic of over 70,000 GB a month.

iiNet announced on Wednesday that its broadband customers will be able to watch up to four live matches every round of the 2008/09 Barclays English Premier League for free, or as iiNet put it "for sweet FA".

The ISP is offering customers up to four live EPL games every round, in addition to up to five recorded matches available within six hours of the final whistle, at no additional charge and bearing no impact on their monthly quota.

iiNet CEO Michael Malone said the company is excited to be the first ISP offering the EPL unmetered, and at no additional charge.

"Being able to provide great content like the Barclays Premier League matches completely quota-free means our customers can now get more value out of their monthly quota," he said.

Malone said the ISP is currently offering over 70,000 GB per month in freezone traffic for its customers.

Over 200 EPL matches will be made available via iiNet live online streams, building on the company's original deal with Foxtel to provide five matches within six hours of the final whistle during the latter half of last season.

Malone said the success of that sample, which drew north of 200 customers per match, pleased Foxtel which didn't view its success as a threat to the pay TV market but rather an extra channel to market to.

"If you look at it from Foxtel's point of view, they don't really care about how their content gets to the customer. Particularly if you have customers in areas like Sydney with a lot of high density dwellings where customers can't get Foxtel at all. But they can get broadband, and that is a market of maybe a million households that could [potentially] get the full range of Foxtel content via their broadband connection."

Malone said iiNet wasn't intending to generate revenue out of the deal, but rather saw the offering as a means to attract more customers to iiNet and make existing subscribers happier through exciting, diverse and free content.

The live matches stream in standard definition at speeds between 512Kbps to 1Mbps.

"While you could watch it at 512Kbps I'd say it would be a very uncomfortable experience. Realistically you want 1.5Mbps or better," Malone said.

"Particularly with the time difference, the Barclays Premier League offering through iiNet is perfect for fans wishing to stay in touch with the season as it unfolds around the clock."

The EPL kicks off on Saturday August 16 with Arsenal taking on newly promoted Championship winners West Bromwich Albion at Emirates stadium

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Andrew Hendry

Computerworld

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