Time Warner isolates problem, starts restoring service

City News Service

Internet and telephone service for thousands of Southern California homes and businesses went out for more than six hours Sunday, as one of the largest Internet providers grappled with a system-wide failure in its network serving San Diego and large areas in the Los Angeles, Orange County and Palm Springs areas.

Time-Warner Cable engineers said they found a malfunctioning piece of equipment at an undisclosed location outside the state of California’’ and at about 1 p.m. began reprogramming routers to avoid the bottleneck, said company spokesman Jim Gordon. Repairs began to take effect in some locations immediately, and the entire system should be functioning normally by midafternoon, he said.

Gordon said the data interruption, which he said was intermittent, also cut telephone service for customers who use a Time-Warner cable or fiber line for bundled Time-Warner dial-tone phone service. VOIP service like Skype or Vonage was also affected.

Some two million Southern California businesses and homes subscribe to

Time-Warner for cable television, but the company will not disclose how many of

them also rely on the firm for cable or fiber-based Internet or telephone

service. Gordon said.

The outage came as the East Coast was hit by Hurricane Irene, and computer experts have in the past said that nationwide Internet systems can be brought down by single-point failures. No link between the storm and the California failure has been established, Gordon said.