I have Shaw Cablesystems as my ISP. I was downloading a few torrents today, a couple of which were using trackers hosted on thepiratebay.org. For some reason, the tracker announcements kept failing, which prevents my torrent client from finding any peers. I had no network connectivity problems, and I could ping the tracker servers.
I launched a command prompt, did a “dig vip.tracker.thepiratebay.org” and got a list of IP addresses. Then, in my torrent client, I went into the stuck torrent and added http://ip-address/announce as a user-added announce server, where I replaced ip-address with one of the addresses that my dig command produced, and restarted the torrent. Lo and behold, the torrent started downloading and instantly ramped up to a couple of hundred k per second of transfer rate. A few minutes later it finished.
I don’t know what’s going on there, but it seems like somehow Shaw is trying to block my access to torrent trackers. This seems to be an alternative method to reduce torrent traffic instead of doing traffic shaping, which they have been accused of in the past.
It still works, but if I always have to do that it’s going to be a nuisance.