Time Warner Cable suffered a massive Internet outage this week that left more than 11 million customers without Internet access for approximately three hours. No biggie, though, these sorts of things happen every now and then… right? Well, maybe. But MIT’s Technology Review has talked with some experts who say that TWC’s big outage this week raises some troubling questions about its overall infrastructure.
To start with, Technology Review notes that it seems a single human error was somehow able to cascade throughout TWC’s entire network and leave it crippled for hours. David Erickson, a cofounder of networking software company Forward Networks, says that such mistakes are “entirely preventable” while implying that a big company like TWC should really be more on top of its game.
And Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of Internet law at Harvard Law School, tellsTechnology Review that he’s most disturbed that TWC hasn’t disclosed many details about the outage that would give us a better idea of exactly what caused it and whether it was something that TWC should have been able to prevent with due diligence.
“We ought to have standards for release of data by broadband providers to allow apples-to-apples comparisons and tracking of outages over time so the public, and policymakers, can gauge trends in connectivity,” Zittrain explained, while also saying that such outages are magnified when an ISP has a last-mile monopoly in any given area.