NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Time Warner Cable, one of the nation’s largest cable and broadband providers, suffered an unusual nationwide Internet outage early Wednesday morning, sparking new complaints about the company’s service. Time Warner Cable, which serves about 14.5 million of the country’s 115 million homes, said the outage occurred at 4:30 a.m. ET “during our routine network maintenance.”
“An issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services,” the company said in a statement. “As of 6 a.m. ET, services were largely restored as updates continue to bring all customers back online.”
The company said that cable TV and phone services were not affected by the Internet downtime. Some Time Warner Cable customers said in tweets that their Internet service was still spotty after 7 a.m., though it had resumed working for others, including this reporter, who’s filing his story via the provider’s Internet connection.
The outage is another black eye for Time Warner Cable, which has a dismal reputation among consumers. Earlier this year, the American Consumer Satisfaction Index showed Time Warner Cable had the lowest satisfaction rate of any big television provider.
Comcast, the company with the second-lowest satisfaction rate in that survey, is in the process of acquiring Time Warner Cable. Both companies have made big investments to improve customer service and the quality of their products — but of course none of that matters when customers wake up and find out the Internet is not working.
During the outage, some customers said they relied on Internet connections from their smart phones instead. Broadband providers report outages from time to time, but they are usually more localized. Charter Communications suffered what was described as a nationwide outage last Saturday, but Charter reaches fewer homes than Time Warner Cable, and is generally in smaller markets.
Many of Time Warner Cable’s homes are in big metropolitan areas like New York City and Los Angeles. That made Wednesday’s outage more noticeable, because it affected journalists and the people who employ them.