Early on the morning of the 19th of May, 2016, Morocco’s biggest internet service provider (ISP), Maroc Telecom, started blocking access to many popular computer games. Moroccan users are reporting on game forums around the world that they are blocked from popular games such as Rocket League, League of Legends, CS: GO, Starcraft 2, Dragon’s Nest, and more. Many of the blocked games featured in-game voice chat features such as push-to-talk, suggesting that this game ban could be a continuation of Morocco’s VoIP ban. Morocco leads African countries with over 60% internet penetration, and a large chunk of that population likes to game.
Update: Maroc Telecom claims that this wasn’t deliberate, but rather was a result of some VoIP-related port blocking test. Gaming service is supposed to resume, stay tuned!
Gamers in Morocco No Longer Have Access to Popular PC Games Unless They Use a VPN
While some popular games with large amounts of servers are still somewhat reachable, users are largely reporting lag spikes, increasing ping, and widespread disconnects. Gamers on Morocco’s second largest ISP, Meditel, are thus far unaffected; however, seeing as how the banning of VoIP in Morocco happened much the same way, you can expect Meditel and Morocco’s other ISPs to follow suit any day now. The bottom line is this: Don’t expect to be able to get your LoL(s) without a VPN.
This move by the Moroccan telecom industry comes half a year after a concerted effort to block Voice over IP (VoIP) services. The decision seems to have come down from the ANRT, the Moroccan Telecommunications Regulatory Agency. At the end of 2015, all Moroccan ISPs started blocking the world’s most popular VoIP services such as Viber, Skype, and Whatsapp.
The anti-VoIP trend has also swept through other countries in the Middle East. Is this a trend that more countries around the world will need to worry about? It is unfortunate that governments continue to show that they do not respect their citizens’ rights to freedom.