Don’t these things come in threes? If so, watch out Comcast. On Sat, Charter experienced an Internet outage that affected multiple markets across its footprints. Then it was Time Warner Cable ’s turn, with its entire footprint losing Internet service for a period Wed. “At 4:30am ET this morning during our routine network maintenance, an issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services,” a spokesman said, noting that “an erroneous configuration was propagated throughout our national backbone, resulting in a network outage… We immediately identified and corrected the root cause of the issue and restored service by 7:30am ET… A failure of this size is very serious and we are taking the necessary steps to improve our processes with the objective of making sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Of course, any negative story involving Comcast and Time Warner Cable these days is a bold-faced headline. Throw in TWC’s presence in journo-heavy NYC, and it was all over social media as many were just waking up. Look for critics of the deal to question just how many more people could be impacted if such an outage occurred post-merger. NY gov Andrew Cuomo promptly issued a statement that he has directed the NY State Dept of Public Service to investigate the outage as part of its review of Comcast’s proposed merger with the company. “Today’s widespread Internet outage that has apparently impacted more than 11 million customers at Time Warner—which is based in New York—is a stark reminder that our economy is increasingly dependent on a reliable broadband network. That is one of the reasons why I pushed for a stronger standard of review for cable company mergers earlier this year,” Cuomo said. TWC’s response: “We apologize for the early morning disruption in service and we intend to discuss any of the Governor’s concerns with him as well as the many consumer merits of our merger.” Unrelated, TWC got dinged with a $1.1mln fine by the FCC this week for not filing reporting outage reports in a timely fashion.

As for Charter’s outage over the weekend, little is known at present. A spokesperson said technical teams were continuing to investigate the cause. The outage didn’t quite garner TWC ink, but it still got of a lot media attention, especially for a weekend. One of the criticisms was that it didn’t address the issue on social media until Sun evening. Comcast has been the subject of scorn for some bad customer service calls, most notably Ryan Block’s attempt to have his service disconnected. Public Knowledge, which has filed a petition to deny its $45bln merger with TWC, has launched a contest dubbed “Recast Comcast.” It’s looking for the best remix of customer service calls with Comcast, offering to pay the winner’s last Comcast bill (up to $200). The contest is only about 24 hours old, which may explain why we didn’t find any submissions on SoundCloud, YouTube or Vimeo. The contest is open through Sept 18.

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