Rogers Communications throttling World of Warcraft players

Last February there was a bit of a stir among my Canadian gamer friends when the Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved new data caps of a mere 25 GB/month (down from 200 GB/month). (See 200GB to 25GB: Canada gets first, bitter dose of metered Internet at Ars Technica.) These caps impacted both the purchasing of digital content (downloading a single game could easily eat up 6-8 GBs of your monthly allowance) and the viability of online games such as World of Warcraft (they also impacted anyone who streams video or music as well as many other non-gamers, of course).

[ See also: Netflix Canada fights caps with smaller streams, brokers deal with Paramount Pictures ]

The (relatively) good news is that the Canadian government stepped in and had the CRTC reverse their decision. At least Canadian internet denizens were no worse off than they had been (see Canada and its data caps flipflop – don’t pop the champagne yet at The Inquisitr). Over the weekend Canadian gamers, at least those who play World of Warcraft, took another blow when a story hit claiming that Rogers Communications has been deliberately throttling the bandwidth of WoW players. Rogers says this is a response to WoW publisher Blizzard Entertainment's decision to use bit-torrent as a game update technology. Blizzard supplies players with a Blizzard Update utility that, behind the scenes, uses bit-torrent. Most Blizzard customers probably aren't even aware of the technology behind the updater. This time, ironically, it was the CRTC who came to the aid of WoW players, or at least exposed the issue. They sent an inquiry to Rogers basically urging them to be more transparent about what's going on. While this didn't help WoW players it as least prompted Rogers to inform them that they wouldn't be throttled if they didn't use the official Blizzard Updater (there are web sites that host patches so alternatives are available, if less convenient). That's where things stand for now. Rogers says it is working with Blizzard to "fix" the problem. Bottom line, if you're a Rogers Communications customer and play WoW, you'd better find an alternative source for your patches, at least until this situation is resolved. Learn more details at Update - I wanted to highlight this comment from a Rogers Communications representative: I'm RogersMelanie and I'm with Rogers. I wanted to provide some details about this. What we know today is that there is a problem with our traffic management equipment that is inadvertently slowing the WoW game for some customers. While we have fixed some issues with a software modification, new problems have emerged that we expect will be addressed with a second software update in June. We believe the problem occurs when P2P is running while simultaneously playing the game. If you are experiencing problems we suggest you turn off the peer to peer setting within the WoW game and ensure no other P2P file sharing applications are running while playing WoW. WoW does use P2P for software updates, but with this setting changed you should continue to automatically receive software updates through other methods. We would like to stress that this is only a temporary solution. We continue to work closely with the game manufacturer and our equipment supplier to help resolve this issue as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience while we have been investigating issues related to World of Warcraft.

Peter Smith writes about personal technology for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @pasmith.


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