Time Warner Cable Inc., which is planning to combine with Comcast Corp., said Internet service is largely restored after frustrated subscribers across the U.S. reported outages this morning.
An issue with its Internet backbone disrupted broadband and on demand services at 4:30 a.m. New York time during “routine network maintenance,” the New York-based company said in an e-mailed statement. As of 6 a.m., “services were largely restored as updates continue to bring all customers back online.”
Subscribers woke up to no Internet access, and #timewarnercable quickly began trending on Twitter as customers vented their frustrations. The nationwide outage struck in the midst of Comcast’s efforts to gain regulatory approval to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion. Since the deal was announced in February, the companies have faced complaints about poor customer service as they try to win support from both regulators and the general public.
“The timing is really unfortunate with the scrutiny both companies are getting right now,” said Roger Entner, an analyst with Recon Analytics LLC in Dedham, Massachusetts. “This outage has nothing to do with the merger, but it will be used by detractors to say: ‘See, they need to fix their service problems now before they are allowed to combine and have even bigger problems.’”
Time Warner Cable said it’s still investigating the source of the problem.
Downdetector.com, which tracks service interruptions, shows there have been more than 10,000 Time Warner Cable problem reports in the last few hours in cities including Los Angeles; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Buffalo, New York. About 94 percent of the reported problems are related to Internet service, according to downdetector.com.
Some of the Internet outages were occurring in New York City, according to the company’s customer service line.
Time Warner Cable had about 11.4 million residential high- speed data subscribers as of June 30 and about 550,000 business customers for its Internet services. The deal with Comcast will combine the two largest U.S. cable providers.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable are the two lowest-ranked companies for customer satisfaction in the cable business, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
Time Warner Cable recently agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission into the company’s failure to report a “substantial number” of network outages with proper documentation. Time Warner Cable admitted its failure to file the proper documentation, according to an Aug. 25 FCC order announcing the settlement and now-ceased investigation.
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