Updated Aug. 27, 2014 at 2:34 p.m.

TWC customers unleash anger over massive Internet outage

Published: 2014-08-27 12:27:00
Updated: 2014-08-27 14:34:46

Readers from around the Triangle, Eastern N.C. and as far away as San Antonio reacted with frustration and anger as Time Warner Cable's nation-wide Internet outage dragged on for hours early Wednesday.

"Frankly, I have to say that TWC Internet service has been terrible for quite some time now. I pay for premium service and it's response is just abysmal," posted Doug Lively online.

"I noticed that early this morning it wasn't working. But I thought, 'Well, that's par for the course.' It seems to be up now. ... I can't wait until Google Fiber gets here!" [Google Fiber has the Triangle on its short list for future deployment of ultra-fast Internet service.]

Outrage spilled over at Twitter, too.

Several said the outage affected their business.

  • How did your business deal with the hours-long, nationwide Time Warner Cable Internet outage early Wednesday? Send your solutions to rsmith@wral.com

 "I work for a company as a project manager. I work from home in Raleigh, but my customers are mainly in China and other Pacific-rim countries," wrote Dwayne Daughtry. "I noticed lagging connectivity starting around 2 a.m. Outages began when a conference call (Internet based) disconnected about 3:20 a.m.

"That is when Time Warner internet completely disconnected. Services did not fully restore until approximately 7 a.m."

Some readers said problems began as early as 1 a.m. TWC didn't acknowledge a problem until just after 4 a.m. through Twitter.

TWCBradley Parsons took a double blow.

"Two times. It happened at 1:00 a.m. which lasted 1 hour. The second time was at 5 a.m. that last for 2.5 hours," Parsons complained. 

Others say they have had trouble far longer. One reported TV outage problems that have continued to linger for days.

"I live in Matthews, NC. I had no cable on Friday when I arrived home from work and still don't have it today," wrote Carol Bobo.

"I contacted tech support 4 different times over the weekend. Went through all of the tech support suggestions of unplugging cable from TV, reset channels, turn the TV on and go to channel 3 or 4. Each time with no progress.

"Each time was told that 'they' were getting a clear signal to me. Each time telling me that my issue was being escalated. Each time being told that my cable should be back up within 3-24 hrs.

"[Tuesday] was final straw. Tech is supposed to come out THIS Friday. I believe their issues actually started last week. They did offer me a credit for days missed, and reduced my rate to $55 per month."

Readers Weigh In

WRAL TechWire asked readers to tell how they were affected by the outage - and they responded over the course of the morning through email. Several added comments to the WRAL TechWire report, which was posted on WRAL.com.

Some called for more competition and want to see what services will be provided through the North Carolina Next Generation Network project, which will begin to be rolled out by AT&T later this year.

"Our internet service has been spotty all week. When I woke up at 5:30 it was completely out. How about some compensation for the service that we are paying for, but not receiving???" posted Reesa76.

Added another Internet reader:  "I'm an early riser, and when I got up at 3 a.m. I had no connection. Unless my problem was unrelated, I feel that this problem started earlier than they stated.

"I'm seriously fed up with TWC and their lack of service, and wish I could switch. Unfortunately switching would mean going to Frontier [Internet and communications provider], which costs more for similar speeds.

"I'm hoping the upcoming NCNGN will open up more choices for me."

Internet's necessity

What's clear from the comments is just how important Internet access is. Not a luxury but a necessity.

"Every time there is an outage the more we realize how much the Internet is a part of our normal routine," wrote Dennis Thurman.

"No longer is it an add-on to our daily activities-it is now basic to all else. it's a bit scary to think we now rely on a system which is so centralized - but it is true."

While TWC said around 9 a.m. that service had been restored for the most part, WRAL readers said their connectivity was still slow or not available.

"I noticed [the outage] from about 5:20 until at least 5:45a.m.," said Scott Zekanis. 

He added a caveat, however.

"But then it is an almost daily occurrence to have it blip throughout the day."

So what happened? TWC cited a network problem that occurred during regular maintenance. Some readers suspect a hacking attack.

"Looked to me like it was their DNS [domain name service, which handles Internet addresses] servers that were down," wrote Victor Kan.

"Streaming Netflix shows that were already going continued fine. But accessing new sites failed to resolve names to IP addresses.
That's at least how the problem affected us. Was somebody trying to attack their DNS, which renders many security measures useless if hijacked?"

A rare response about continuing service came from B. Watkins in Goldsboro: "Not affected at all."

Rapid Responses

But among the first respoinders was P. Jane Edmonds who works at a tech firm in RTP, who posted almost as soon as the story appeared at WRAL.com: "No Internet access this morning."

The complete outage compounded problems for one reader who also said her Internet-based phone service was affected. Plus, the problem has been going on for days.

"We are with Time Warner for internet. It has been down since yesterday, not sure exactly the time, but around lunch noticed problems," she wrote.

"My husband called and they said it would be Friday before they could get out here.

"We have an internet phone service, used for home business, which has created a problem. We are having to forward all calls to his cell phone. We have Verizon cell service and a weak signal at home, so we normally use Wi-Fi at home.

"For us, being without Internet this long, has presented a serious problem," she added. "It would be nice if they could get out here sooner."

Raymond Baird weighed in from San Antonio with a detailed tale of disruption.

"At approx. 0500 local today, phone worked but internet did not – said I was not connected. Call to 800 number resulted in message that wait time was in excess of 45 minutes, indicating that phone service was OK but TWC tech support was itself, in effect, off-line.

"Had to go to work so [don't know] when service it was restored but spouse heard on NPR that it was coming back on line and when we checked at 10:00 it is apparently functional again.

"Loss of internet service not uncommon (i.e., once every couple of weeks) but this was the longest we’ve been down and unable to get assistance from TWC."

Not a One-Day Problem

William Marsh III also reported lingering problems.

"Since the weekend I've had problems [with] Time Warner internet access. I pay a premium for higher speeds and they always waste your time with useless, time wasting procedures to resolve connection issues and lie about what's going on," Marsh complained.

"They will throttle down the service and deny it. ... Visited [a] library and library reported not only did they also have connection issues but others also came in because couldn't connect at home. That was on Sunday."

Tony Rogers wrote that he left his home in Wilson at 7:45 a.m. still without service.

A North Raleigh reader didn't have access and pointed out a "truly paralyzing" email outage that hit TWC this summer. 

"They never explained why that happened and why it took so long to fully work properly," he wrote. "You had to call and beg for a credit every day until it was resolved. It was truly paralyzing."

Steve Terry in Garner was among those who reported that he lost cable TV and Internet.

And Andre Henry thanked WRAL for the coverage.

"Good to see the article and all the details. I appreciate your getting all that added information after I reported my outage and the info I did have," Henry wrote. "I particularly liked the info regarding the fines imposed for not reporting outages as that outage information has not been very readily available from TWC.

"Best, and really fine research and reporting. WRAL provides a great service to us."



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I wasn't affected by the problem since I was smart enough to get TW out of my house long ago. I believe that they have the worst customer service in the universe.
I've also noticed in the past month or so that some TV channels are either frozen or pixelated, in addition to slow Internet speeds. It’s become very erratic and frustrating!
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