Overnight maintenance on the backbone of Time Warner Cable's Internet network prompted the outage, which hit customers in California, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.
The company said the problem occurred at 1:30 a.m. Pacific time during routine network maintenance.
"An issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services," Time Warner Cable said in a statement. By 3 a.m. Pacific time, much of the problem had been resolved.
"Services should be restored for all customers; our apologies for the interruption," Time Warner Cable said on
Metropolitan Los Angeles was affected in the outage, Time Warner Cable confirmed. The company routinely does its maintenance overnight to minimize any potential problems for consumers.
The outage came at an awkward time for the company and Comcast Corp., which is seeking federal approval of its $45-billion takeover of Time Warner Cable.
Opponents have urged the
"This is just another challenge that
"People are questioning whether this merger will be good for consumers," Beck said.
A customer survey earlier this summer by Beck's firm found that Comcast and Time Warner Cable had the highest levels of "brand vulnerability," due to customer service complaints. The group found higher levels of frustration for cable companies than even customers of banks and financial institutions reported in 2011 in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Beck said.
"Service interruptions happen -- the world is an imperfect place," Beck said. "But it really comes down to how these companies handle the problem and resolve their customer's complaints."
Earlier this week, Time Warner Cable agreed to pay a $1.1 million fine to the FCC for failing to promptly report service outages to the government. As part of the resolution, Time Warner Cable agreed to a three-year compliance program.
On Wednesday morning, the DownDetector site showed the hot spots in regions of the country, including New York, Ohio and North Carolina, that had experienced the outage.
People took to social media to vent.
"This perfectly captures the horribleness of Time Warner Cable," a Rochester, N.Y., man wrote on Facebook on Wednesday morning.
Both Time Warner Cable and Comcast routinely rank at the bottom of customer service rankings. Comcast declined Wednesday to comment on Time Warner Cable's Internet service outage.
Consumer activists and some media companies, including Dish Network,
Some have argued that Internet service increasingly is critical to people's everyday lives, and that the government should more closely regulate the industry.
In a letter Monday, Los Angeles Mayor
"There is a real risk that this transaction will lead to worse customer service," Garcetti wrote. "Some commenters have suggested that the commission should demand improvements in consumer ratings as a condition of the merger."
The mayor added it would likely be difficult to enforce such a provision. However, any approval of Comcast's takeover should "come with a requirement that the company provide adequate services to consumers," Garcetti said.
Monday was the deadline for individuals and groups to lodge comments about the merger with the FCC.