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Widespread Outage Strikes Time Warner Customers Nationwide

A sign hangs on a Time Warner Cable office. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

A sign hangs on a Time Warner Cable office. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A problem that occurred during routine maintenance caused a nationwide outage of Time Warner Cable‘s Internet service for hours on Wednesday morning, the New York-based company said.

Time Warner is still investigating the cause of the problem, which occurred with its Internet backbone, the paths that local or regional networks connect to in order to carry data long distances, the company said.

The problem affected all of its markets and started at 4:30 a.m. and was largely restored by 6 a.m., and updates continue to bring all customers back online, the company said. The outage sparked widespread complaints on social networks.

Time Warner Cable, which is in the process of being bought by rival Comcast Corp. for $45 billion, has about 11.4 million high-speed data subscribers in 29 states nationwide. The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing the deal.

The outage caught the attention of N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Today’s widespread internet outage that has apparently impacted more than 11 million customers at Time Warner – which is based in New York – is a stark reminder that our economy is increasingly dependent on a reliable broadband network,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo ordered officials to look into the outage as part of the review of the proposed merger.

“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.

Tim Farrar, an analyst at TMF Associates said there are major outages of at least one telecom provider every year, although typically they aren’t fully national.

“AT&T had a major outage back in April, Comcast had one last October. Verizon Wireless had several national outages on its 4G network back in 2012,” he said. “Usually it is related to bugs in new technology, and occasionally to routine maintenance where someone did something wrong.”

Separately, on Tuesday, the FCC said Time Warner Cable would pay $1.1 million to resolve outage reporting violations. The FCC found that Time Warner Cable did not report disruptions in service to its networks to the FCC in a timely enough manner. In addition to the payment, the company is submitting a three-year compliance plan to make sure it will comply with the reporting rules.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)