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Time Warner Cable nationwide outage raises outrage about the TWC and Comcast merger

Nothing seems to go right with Time Warner Cable these days. Their Internet and on-demand service went down throughout the country early Wednesday morning, around 4:30 a.m., and lasted for almost two hours. Cable TV and phone service weren’t affected.

Even though service was largely restored by 6 a.m., this didn’t stop the general public from airing out their anger and frustration through various social media sites. About 80 percent of the company’s 14.4 million residential customers in 29 states were hit by this major breakdown.

What triggered this nationwide outage remains unknown and under investigation at this time. Time Warner Cable said the problem happened while they’re doing routine network maintenance.

According to Tim Farrar, an analyst at TMF Associates, major outages occur at least once a year for every telecom provider usually triggered by bugs in new technology.

“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,” Farrar said.

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The country’s second-biggest cable TV and Internet provider is no stranger to controversy. A few days ago, the Federal Communications Commission slapped TWC a $1.1 million fine for failing to report multiple network disruptions or outages on time.

The timing couldn’t be worse for the company is in the middle of a possible merger with another major cable company, Comcast. The deal is estimated to be around $45 billion and will need federal approval to move forward. It will give Comcast access to TWC’s stronghold including California, New York and Ohio.

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This outage proves to be a public relations disaster and raises some interesting arguments in terms of its impacts to their customers.

At this point, there are negative claims from consumers and competing providers that this possible acquisition deal will worsen what is already considered a substandard service offered by these two heavyweights in the industry. Moreover, it will make things more difficult for these providers to react in times of crisis such as this nationwide outage.

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The most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index shows TWC and Comcast as the worst and second-worst when it comes to their Internet service.

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