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Time Warner outage cuts Internet access for 11M subscribers |

Time Warner outage cuts Internet access for 11M subscribers

Time Warner Cable Inc., America’s No. 2 cable operator, suffered an extensive network outage on Wednesday because of suspected human error that cut Internet services to about 11 million businesses and residences, prompting a New York state investigation.

The outage to all of its Internet customers across 29 states began about 4:30 a.m. Eastern time, company spokesman Bobby Amirshahi said. Services were “largely restored” by 6 a.m. and “a majority, if not all” were back on line as of 8 a.m., he said.

The company doesn’t have customers in the seven-county Pittsburgh region. Its customers in the northwestern counties of Erie, Crawford, Venango and Mercer were affected by the outage, spokesman Mike Pedelty said. He declined to say how many customers Time Warner Cable has in that region of the state.

The timing of the outage was critical for Time Warner, which is working to win FCC approval of a $45 billion proposed merger with Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable provider. Market experts say customers are frustrated by the frequency and handling of previously disclosed service disruptions.

The company said it was investigating the cause of the disruption, which occurred as technicians conducted routine network maintenance on its Internet backbone.

“We believe it to be human error that occurred during a routine overnight maintenance window,” Amirshahi said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the state’s Department of Public Service to investigate the disruption as it reviews the company’s planned merger with Comcast.

“Dependable Internet service is a vital link in our daily lives, and telecommunications companies have a responsibility to deliver reliable service to their customers,” Cuomo said in a statement.

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