Major Cable Outages Hit Cox, Time Warner Cable

May 13, 2016

By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

Customers of Cox Communications and Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable across four different states recently got hit by a major outage in television, phone and Internet service following a disaster that stemmed from one simple cause: a cut cable from “third party construction.” This one small disaster hit hard, and shows us all the value of having backup systems on hand.

For customers in the New York City area, as well as portions of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, the outage struck on May 9 starting around 2:45 p.m., and reports of service interruption were still arriving even hours later. The cut cable represented “multiple fiber cuts at one of our network providers,” according to a statement from Time Warner Cable. Word of the outage was confirmed to CNNMoney by Level 3, a company that handles infrastructure for cable providers.

Service had reportedly been restored to New York City customers by 9 p.m., though the extent of the outage in the three remaining states was unclear. Looking at a report from DownDetector.com suggests that the Time Warner outage was still quite widespread on the Eastern Seaboard, with a new firespot of red emerging in Los Angeles. DownDetector also has a note that should be chilling for Time Warner; an assessment of how users rate Time Warner Cable over the last three months currently features the lowest one-star rating.

While admittedly, power protection systems like those offered by Minuteman would only go so far in providing relief here—it's a completely different system—it's a point that needs to be noted. The same kind of accidental cut that took out cable in four states could do the same to an underground power line, and render a business or home without power for several hours. Being prepared to weather such a metaphorical storm is important, and that means backup systems. Minuteman power supply systems offer a means to save work and shut down a computer properly when the power goes out instead of just losing power altogether. Larger systems can help provide that crucial extra power that can get a business past an outage and keep it running.

With Time Warner already hit by terrible ratings, and the 5G movement about four years off, now would be a good time for Time Warner and its ilk to attempt to recover good standing within a community by offering better service that doesn't cut out semi-randomly like this. There's only so much that can be done, granted, but what can be done needs to be done. Meanwhile, regular users should understand the importance of backup systems, and prepare accordingly for the next outage, now no longer a matter of “if,” but rather, “when.”

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