Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) said internet service has been largely restored after an early morning outage blackened service in major metropolitan areas.

Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable and Virgin Media outage; internal computer configuration issues

According to a report in Business Insider, which first reported the issue, the outage occurred at 3 AM eastern standard time.  The website “DownDetector.com” noted the spike in outage complaints and posted an outage map showing the locations of the affected areas.

The US outage was immediately followed by an overseas outage where Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ:VMED) (LON:VMED) customers in the United Kingdom were unable to access the internet, the report noted.

Both Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ:VMED) (LON:VMED) and Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) say the outages were not related to security or hacker issues, but rather internal computer configuration issues, the companies claim.

“Virgin Media have identified a problem with one of their core routers in Telehouse and they are continuing their investigation although no ETR is available as of yet,” said Richard Partridge on a Virgin blog post.  “Service appears to have been restored and stable for approximately 10 minutes now however no further information is available from Virgin Media as of yet. The affected circuits should be considered at risk until further information on this incident is available.”

Time Warner Cable’s outage occurred during routine network maintenance

A USA Today report attributed the Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) outage occurred during “routine network maintenance.”

“An issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services,” Time Warner Cable vice president for public relations Bobby Amirshahi was quoted as saying in the USA Today report.  The outage impacted all of Time Warner Cable’s network in 29 states and 11.4 million high speed internet users.

Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) is among a small group of cable and telecommunications companies that control the majority of high speed Internet access.  This group is in the middle of attempting to charge web sites higher rates to receive preferential treatment to high speed internet access.  Oddly, it is the cable companies who face increased pressure from Internet-based firms such as Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google’s growing streaming video offerings. A recent video on Business Insider, Don’t Be Afraid to Cancel Cable – Here’s How to Get All The Programs You Love.

Critics of the cable companies claim their virtual monopoly on high speed Internet access is limiting potential growth of the internet.  As previously noted in ValueWalk, Google is confronting the monopoly and potential freedom of speech issues by establishing a high speed fiber internet connection as an alternative, which is currently being test marketed in Kansas City, among other locations, with successful results.