Rogers admits throttling World of Warcraft gamers

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).

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).

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.

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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

Follow Peter Smith on Twitter at @pasmith.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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