It took Jason Legate, a Walnut Creek, California-resident, all of 10 minutes to connect his computer to a London-based server and access BBC’s coverage of the Olympics Saturday, thereby circumventing NBC’s lock on coverage in the United States.
The 31-year-old system administrator said he has watched at least 12 hours of live BBC coverage (his favorite sport so far – judo) since he set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection to send all his Internet traffic to a server in London.
Legate is one of many viewers who, turned off by NBC’s ironclad control of access to Olympics coverage in the United States and spotty online streaming, has resorted to a workaround–sometimes legal, sometimes not–to watch the Games when and how they want on feeds from countries such as the UK and Canada.
NBC, which spent $1.18 billion for the rights to broadcast the Olympics on the Internet and on television in the United States, has made it impossible for people without a pricey cable or satellite subscription to watch the Olympics live in the United States. Viewers can receive a complimentary four hours of live content with a temporary pass.
Only those customers who are first “authenticated” as paying cable or satellite subscribers have access to live streaming of every Olympic event, a move that has led to a explosion of anger at the network on Twitter under the unofficial “#NBCfail” hashtag.
Other complaints included NBC streaming that didn’t work and the network bombarded viewers had too much advertising.