As part of the ongoing launch troubles that SimCity has undergone, EA has announced that they will be shutting down some of the non-critical features of the game to help with server load and connectivity. Most of these features, ironically, are the ones that would require an always-on internet connection.
We are continuing to do everything we can to address the server issues. In the meantime, so that we can give you as good an experience as possible, we are in the process of deploying a hotfix to all servers. This includes various improvements and also disables a few non-critical gameplay features (leaderboards, achievements and region filters). Disabling these features will in no way affect your core gameplay experience.
EA is also adding servers to help with the load. They have said that customers can request a refund, though this didn't work out too well for at least one person who tried. We'll keep looking for SimCity news, hopefully of the variety that EA has fixed all of the problems. If you haven't picked up the game yet, you would be advised to hold off until the all-clear is given by EA.