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TWC Internet Outage Follows $1.1M Fine

Mari Silbey

Time Warner Cable suffered major Internet outages across the US early Wednesday morning, with failure reports on Downdetector.com peaking between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. eastern time. A similar spike appeared for Bright House Networks -- which partners with Time Warner Cable on many engineering functions -- but on a much smaller scale.

Bobby Amirshahi, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) vice president for public relations, told USA Today that "an issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services" for the company's 12 million broadband customers. The issue now appears to be largely resolved.

In an unfortunate bit of timing for Time Warner Cable, the broad-based outage follows an announcement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday that it is fining the company $1.1 million for a failure to report similar problems in the past. This is what the FCC order said:

    Here, TWC failed to file a substantial number of reports with respect to a series of reportable wireline and Voice over Internet Protocol network outages. TWC admits that its failure to timely file the required network outage reports violated the Commission's rules. To resolve the investigation, TWC will pay a civil penalty of $1.1 million and implement a three-year compliance plan to ensure future compliance with the Commission’s network outage reporting rules.

The problems for Time Warner Cable also occurred while the company is under the microscope due to its proposed merger with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). Charter Communications Inc. , which would also play a role in that deal because it would buy and swap systems with Comcast, had its own outage to contend with over the weekend. One of the biggest complaints in the Charter situation was a lack of effective customer support service. (See Charter Internet Outages Blamed on DNS Problems.)

Get the latest updates on Internet outages and other broadband issues by visiting Light Reading's broadband services content channel.

TWC subscribers also expressed frustration on user forums about getting through to customer support in this morning's outage. However, the company, unlike fellow MSO Charter, did take to Twitter to inform users about the technical difficulties. As of late morning, a representative reported on Twitter: "Services should be restored for all customers; our apologies for the interruption. If you're still having issues, please let us know."

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
8/28/2014 | 12:11:59 PM
Re: Paging Rube Goldberg
@KBode -- Well, I know when my provider goes out on a large scale, the moment you call customer service/support you get a heads up that there's a problem and they're working on it, making sense since obviously you can't access the Internet. 

I'm honestly not sure what else could be done.
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/28/2014 | 8:36:01 AM
Re: Paging Rube Goldberg
I'm not sure I've even seen an ISP outage notification portal that actually works. And yes, kind of hard to access an Internet outage notification system of any kind when you have no Internet access to speak of...
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2014 | 2:13:50 PM
Paging Rube Goldberg
So the idea with notification on service outages is you have to (a) sign up to receive TWC's Twitter feed and (2) have a functioning mobile connection (not Wi-Fi enabled from your home router) to find out that your Internet service is down -- which you probably already knew if you tried using it.
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