NBC (s CMCSK) is streaming some 3,500 hours of video live from the London Olympics — but access to the live streams is restricted to pay TV subscribers who have access to MSNBC and CNBC as part of their TV bundle.

That leaves out quite a few viewers. Cord cutters, for example, but also subscribers to low-cost satellite bundles have to follow the games on TV, where coverage is limited and tape-delayed.

Or they have to look elsewhere — and a number of more tech-savvy viewers are turning to VPN providers to access live streams from the BBC or other foreign media organizations. One provider told us that installs of his software tripled since the games started.

From security to free TV

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, have been around for a long time. The corporate world uses this technology to offer remote workers secure access to PCs in…

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