Sunday May 22,2016 : ONLINE GAMING A CASUALTY OF MOROCCAN BAN ON VOIP SERVICES?
The nation's largest ISP starts blocking VoIP companies, but online gamers report serious e-gaming connectivity problems.
The Moroccan telecom regulator ANRT's directive to the country's three largest Internet service providers to block all free online VoIP apps such as Skype, Whatsapp, and Viber appears to have caused wider (and it is claimed unintentional) disruptions, with e-gamers (and by association online gamblers) reporting that they are experiencing connectivity problems with operator websites.
According to local press reports it is widely believed that the regulator's intention is to protect entrenched Moroccan VoIP providers from disruption and competition from Internet voice services, but the campaign has resulted in complications for other internet users.
The publication DSL reports that the largest local ISP, Maroc Telecom, has been accused of blocking video gaming websites, creating "massive connectivity issues that make the games largely unplayable."
Internet users have protested the move by creating an online petition which has already garnered 11,000 signatures. Message boards are carrying exchanges on the crisis as gamers look for alternatives, pointing out that using VPNs may help a little, but is expensive and adds noticeable lag to games.
Facebook is also being used to protest the government action, and an action group titled "Stop the VOIP ban in Morocco" featuring local children holding signs begging Morocco’s King Mohammed and prime minister Benkirane to end the ban.
DSL reports that originally the ANRT ban only impacted 3G and 4G wireless users, but in February this year was expanded to cover all broadband connections. More recently some additional services like Facebook Messenger were added to the growing blocked list.
Maroc Telecom has responded to press enquiries by claiming that nothing has been done ‘specifically’ to ban e-gaming sites.