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Posts with tag net-neutrality

Rogers Communications violates Canadian net neutrality rules over WoW bandwidth throttling

The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission recently ruled that Rogers Communications, one of the largest internet service providers in Canada, has violated federal net neutrality rules. Last year, I wrote a few Lawbringers about the subject, which discussed what Rogers had to actually do to escape violation of certain internet traffic throttling complaints. Basically, Rogers was making WoW players' internet access slower because WoW looked like peer-to-peer traffic on their network.

Rogers is finally going to have to answer for the throttling issues, even after all of the requests and demands to change their packet inspection protocols. The communications company has until Feb. 3 at noon to respond to the complaints about internet throttling or face a hearing with the CRTC board.

Hopefully, the same type of rules can make their way to America, where internet service is abysmally slow and throttled like crazy. Prior to the Cataclysm launch, Blizzard released the new WoW client, which used a peer-to-peer system to upload and download information, patches, data, and all that jazz. This data accidentally triggered internet service providers' bandwidth alerts for torrent traffic and was subsequently throttled to lower speeds. After realizing that many users were experiencing lag issues with the new launcher and their ISPs, Blizzard began its outreach to ISPs in order to work together to fix the problem. A year later, people are still having problems, and Rogers in Canada has admitted to throttling WoW bandwidth.

Filed under: News items

The Lawbringer: Net neutrality and MMOs


Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Everyone is talking about net neutrality these days, on each end of the spectrum. Regulation will fix it! Regulation won't fix it! The end of times! To be honest, content companies and internet service providers alike would like nothing more that to make their margins wider, and nothing will stand in the way of profit.

This week, I want to take a look at some of the potential issues and hypothetical situations that could come about as a result of an internet that lives under the watchful eye of a filter. Preferring some internet packets over another could one day be a huge problem for MMO creators, because so much of the business is dependent on your information getting from one place to another at a speedy clip. Yes, I am aware that ISPs already use deep packet inspection to make sure the internet works, period, but we're talking about a world where anything goes, where regulation lets internet service providers play their own game.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Virgin Media CEO threatens to put UK net traffic in the "bus lane"

We've heard before about lots of trouble with WoW players in the UK experiencing lags, disconnects, and high latency (though the problem seems to be all over lately), and reader Hugh sent us this possible reason: Virgin Media, which is a large internet service provider in the UK, has had their CEO spouting off about net neutrality lately, calling it a "load of bollocks," and claiming that if content providers (like Blizzard) don't pay up, he'll be happy to stick them in the "bus lane."

Not quite cool. The latest tactic of ISPs everywhere to make more money is to charge not customers, but content providers for their traffic -- i.e. if YouTube wants their site to work fast on your ISP, they need to pay the ISP a certain amount, and then everyone on that network will experience the site quickly. So in this case, Virgin would be asking Blizzard, responsible for all the World of Warcraft traffic, to pay a premium price for customers to receive it quickly. And anyone who knows Blizzard knows they probably aren't too excited about paying such a price -- they'd likely call Virgin Media out for slowing the connection down before paying protection money for their data.

At any rate, it seems like there's a battle coming, and your character's information may be caught in the middle of it. As always, you've got to fight with your wallet -- if Virgin or any other ISP threatens to hold data hostage like this, it's time to find a different ISP to pay your money to every month.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

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