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Time Warner Internet crash prompts NYS probe

Time Warner Cable Inc. suffered a massive network outage yesterday due to suspected human error that cut Internet services to some 11 million businesses and residences, prompting a New York State investigation.

The outage to all of its Internet customers across 29 states began around 4:30 a.m., 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 outage came at a critical time for Time Warner, the No. 2 U.S. cable operator, which is working to win FCC approval of a $45 billion proposed merger with Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable provider. Market experts say that customers are frustrated by the frequency and handling of previously disclosed service disruptions.

The company said it was investigating the cause of yesterday's 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.

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. -- Reuters

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