The Last Few Days Havnen’t Been Kind To Rogers [UPDATED]

Gee. What do you do if you’re Rogers when you’ve had the last few days that they had?

First they got nailed by the CRTC for their telemarketing practices:

The Toronto-based wireless, cable, Internet and media company was using automated machines to make unsolicited calls to its own wireless customers, letting them know how to purchase more prepaid minutes for their cellphones. But under the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s rules, telecom companies must first get prior consent for such activities.

Rogers, which, like other telecom companies involved in such disputes, does not admit that it broke any rules, is giving $175,000 to the École polytechnique de Montréal and $100,000 to the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Gee. Didn’t they learn anything from Bell? At least it didn’t cost Rogers $1.3 million.

Now today, a letter to the CRTC surfaced where Rogers admitted that they are inadvertently blocking gamers playing World Of Warcraft and Starcraft… Seriously:

In a letter to the CRTC from Rogers, the company admits to blocking the games because of a problem with its traffic management equipment. The company says it won’t be fixing the problem until June.

In an attempt to deflect the fact that it is blocking legitimate internet traffic thereby violating every tenet of Net Neutrality, Rogers intimates that the problem only occcurs when customers are using peer-to-peer file sharing applications while running the game, an accusation users deny.

Rogers has a history of being one of the more aggressive ISP’s when it comes to traffic management, so I’m not shocked by this at all. But let us take them at their word for a second… Ok, some of you will have a problem doing that, but work with me. If we assume that they are telling the truth, one wonders why they just don’t shut down their traffic management system rather than waiting until June for a fix. It clearly isn’t working. Plus it’s yet again creating bad press for them. If I were running Rogers, I’d pull the plug and made sure heads roll over this.

Oh yeah, let me address their assertion that the cause is using peer-to-peer software while playing Starcraft and World Of Warcraft (both made by the same vendor, Blizzard). Sorry. I Don’t buy it. Logic would say that this would apply to ANY video game. Not just World Of Warcraft and Starcraft. The more likely reason is that these games do something that confuses Rogers traffic management system into thinking that those games are peer-to-peer applications. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that patches and updates for World Of Warcraft are applied via peer-to-peer protocols? Perhaps that’s the big hint that Rogers traffic management system needs a serious revamp.

Here’s hoping that the rest of the week is better for Rogers.

UPDATE: My “best friends at Rogers” had this to say:

To provide some additional info on the automated dialer. The calls in question were to tell pre-paid customers that their service would be interrupted if they didn’t purchase more minutes. We believe we followed the rules but have voluntarily stopped these calls since there seems to be some uncertainty in the interpretation. Also, to avoid the time and expense of going to Court, we have come to a settlement that the CRTC has agreed upon.

I’d also like to provide some detail on World of Warcraft.  We have been investigating issues related to World of Warcraft (WoW) and what we know today is that there is a problem with our traffic management equipment that is inadvertently slowing the 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 people experience problems we suggest they 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 they should continue to automatically receive software updates through other methods.

You suggest Rogers shut down all traffic management for the time being. However, doing that would result in a poor experience for everyone as we manage the network to limit spam, viruses and other security threats. This management ensures a high level of service for time-sensitive tasks such as sending email, requesting web pages, video conferencing and voice services. As I’m sure you know already, our network management policy makes clear that we only manage upstream P2P traffic on our network. You can find full details about the policy here

Rogers is committed to ensuring the best possible online experience for all our valued customers. And please know 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.


One Response to “The Last Few Days Havnen’t Been Kind To Rogers [UPDATED]”

  1. It’s important to note that Rogers isn’t the only ISP that’s run into issues with WoW and traffic management; the same thing happened to Virgin Media in the UK last year. The difference: Virgin implemented a hack to alleviate the problem within 24 hours of someone breathing down their neck. In Canada, we wait almost a full year for a ‘it might, maybe, work’.

    Link to Virgin Media and WoW:

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