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Netflix announces Australian launch date, inks deal for unlimited streaming

Netflix will be launching in Australia in just a few weeks – March 24 – and interested customers will truly be able to watch as much as they want through select broadband providers that will see the service excluded from monthly broadband quotas.

A deal has been confirmed with iiNet that would allow customers to stream content from Netflix without it counting toward the monthly quota included in their standard Internet packages. And and CNET has reported that competing service Optus will also lift caps for the streaming service, though whether the company signed a specific deal with Netflix is unclear. Either way, the data-cap exceptions are a huge deal when you consider how much data a single streamed movie can eat up – it’s about 2 GB for a two-hour flick in HD. Consider binge-watching a full 13-episode season of a show in a month, and you’d easily surpass some of the most standard plans — especially when factoring in daily Internet usage.

Related: Netflix goes down under, plans Australian launch in 2015

With iiNet and Optus broadband services customers will be able to watch to their heart’s content without keeping track of gigabytes and worrying about overage charges from exceeding quotas. Ditto for Optus Broadband subscribers. The service will be available for streaming on “smart televisions manufactured by Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Philips and HiSense, and Fetch TV’s second-generation set-top box. Film and TV fans can also access Netflix on game consoles, including Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and Nintendo’s Wii U, as well as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Apple and Android tablets and smartphones,” according to the official press release.

While iiNet CEO David Buckingham calls the entrance of Netflix into the country a “game changer,” the move to give Netflix free reign on select broadband services is really the game changer — both for customers, and for Netflix. And it’s an eye opener for the North American market, where competition in the streaming television space is rampant, and fierce, and the vast majority of customers essentially have no need to worry about exceeding caps unless they’re streaming over mobile services.

Meanwhile Vodaphone customers in nearby New Zealand will also get access to Netflix on the 24th, though they won’t be able to enjoy the “unmetered” viewing. They will, however, be able to access the service for free on a trial basis to be able to gauge usage before officially signing on, and customers who buy an Xbox One at “select stores” will score three free months of the service for a limited time.

While today’s announcement is great news for Aussies (and Kiwis), for Australian-based copycat service, Quickflix, it’s about to get real.