TWC Blames Internet Outage On Backbone 'Issue'

Time Warner Cable said an “issue” with its Internet backbone disrupted broadband and on-demand services early Wednesday morning during a regular maintenance procedure, but said services have since been restored to most customers.

“At 4:30 a.m. ET…during our routine network maintenance, an issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services,” a TWC spokesman said via email. “As of 6 a.m. ET services were largely restored as updates continue to bring all customers back online.”

The @TWC_Help  Twitter tried to keep customers apprised earlier this morning when it tweeted: “We’re working to restore services to all areas as quickly as possible; no ETR. Tweets will be delayed while this is addressed.” 

According to Down Detector, a site that provides status information on outages using data from a variety of sources, including Twitter, the number of outage reports for TWC peaked at 9,731 around 7 a.m. ET, and were down to 676 at about 8:10 a.m. ET. The site also uses that data to generate a heat map that shows where outages are occuring. The image above illustrates Down Detector's map-level view of outage reports specific to TWC.

Time Warner Cable ended the second quarter with 11.35 million broadband customers.

The temporary outage was the second involving a major U.S. MSO in recent days. On Saturday (August 23), Charter Communications was hit with outages across multiple service areas. Charter restored services by early Sunday, but didn’t identify a cause. Some subscribers reported that they were able to restore service by making an adjustment related to their Domain Name Server setting. That sparked speculation that the MSO was victimized by a massive DNS hack.

The timing of the outages could've been better in more ways than one. The scrutiny being applied to both outages is being amplified by the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, which also includes a system spin-off/swap component involving Charter Communications. Wednesday morning's outage also comes two days after the FCC's Enforcement Bureau hit TWC with a $1.1 million fine for not reporting certain network outages last year witin the Commssion's guidelines. Per the order (PDF), TWC is also on the hook to "implement a three-year compliance plan to ensure future compliance with the Commission’s network outage reporting rule."