Netflix won’t count against iiNet broadband caps in Australia

So much for net neutrality: Netflix has struck a deal with Australia’s iiNet ISP to exempt its traffic from iiNet’s broadband caps. This means that iiNet subscribers will be able to watch as much Netflix as they want, without the fear that their viewing will lead to any overage charges. But it’s also bad news for any upstart trying to compete with Netflix, and it runs counter to the company’s long and very public defense of net neutrality.

[company]Netflix[/company] said on Monday that it is going to launch on March 24 in Australia and New Zealand. As part of the announcement, iiNet revealed that it will exempt any Netflix traffic from its customers’ monthly bandwidth quotas.

iiNet currently has a 100GB cap for its cheapest broadband plans, and charges customers who exceed that quota $0.60 AUS (about $0.47) per additional gigabyte. The company also has 300GB, 600GB and 1TB plans. Netflix estimates that its customers use up to 7GB of data per hour for the company’s best-looking 1080p HD streams. However, averages are typically much lower.

In the past, Netflix has taken a strong stance against broadband caps. In 2012, its CEO Reed Hastings said that Comcast was violating net neutrality priciples by exempting its own online video services from its broadband caps. “Comcast should apply caps equally, or not at all,” Hastings wrote on his Facebook page back then.

Chromecast comes to South Korea and Australia, now in 24 countries

Google’s quest to bring Chromecast everywhere continued with an expansion to Australia, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Belgium and Portugal in May of 2014. Chromecast is now available in 24 countries and territories.

The company struck a few partnerships with content providers in these countries, bringing cast capabilities to apps like NTT docomo in Japan and Tving and Hoppin in South Korea.

Users will obviously also be able to cast from Google’s own apps, with YouTube being especially popular in some of these countries. South Korea has long been the country with YouTube’s biggest mobile usage, with more than 60 percent of all YouTube views there now coming from mobile devices, according to a Google blog post.

This post was updated at 10:31 a.m. to reflect the fact that the international expansion actually happened nine months ago.

Netflix will launch in Australia and New Zealand next March

Netflix is going to launch in Australia and New Zealand in March of 2015, the company announced Tuesday. The launch will bring the number of countries Netflix is available in to over 50, and the announcement is not unexpected: Netflix CFO David Wells said earlier this month that the company plans a “sizeable expansion” for 2015, and Netflix has reportedly been preparing to enter Australia by hiring local agencies for a launch campaign.

Google partners with Telstra to test Project Loon in Australia

Having already conducted tests in New Zealand, Google will test its connectivity-spouting Project Loon balloons in Australia next month in partnership with local carrier Telstra, according to reports. The Australian Associated Press reported Monday that the agreement will see Google test 20 balloons in the west of the Queensland, with Telstra providing base stations and access to its radio spectrum. Project Loon aims to provide connectivity to hard-to-reach places through an airborne mesh network comprising a floating ring of balloons that follows the winds around the world. As my colleague Kevin Fitchard has noted, there will be serious political and regulatory hurdles to jump if this is to become reality.

UK to stop its citizens seeing extremist material online

The move comes more than a year after the British government said it would force ISPs to filter out extremist and terrorist material. It seems the ISPs caved in after lengthy negotiations, though details remain fuzzy.