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Road Runner E-mail Online Again

March 12, 2001 

Details concerning a server outage that left roughly 100,000 Road Runner customers in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi without e-mail service for a week remain sketchy, but service resumed Monday afternoon, after the faulty servers were replaced Saturday and the new equipment had a chance to catch up will all the backed up e-mails left sitting in customers inboxes.

"The faulty server that caused the e-mail outage in Austin, San Antonio and some other parts of Texas, has been replaced," said Mike Luftman, a Time Warner cable spokesperson. "The service was back to normal by last Saturday."

Time Warner is the majority owner of Road Runner service.

Customers were left in the dark, many uncertain of the extent of the outage, as updates to the Road Runner network status page were spotty at best.

One customer, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was told by customer service for days that there was no problem with the e-mail service and the network status page said everything was running just fine.

According to a statement on Road Runner's network status Web page Monday afternoon, not everyone was lucky enough to get their e-mail, although officials report most were sent on to the correct customer.

"Almost all users have been able to get all old mail. Users who are not getting old mail were part of an issue with one of the directories on a server that has since been remedied. If you are one of those users, please contact technical support at 531-2345 and give them the username that has not been working. Network updates can be accessed at 531-STAT. All other areas of the Austin network are up and operational."

The length of the outage has customers baffled and outraged. Many wonder how the second largest cable Internet service provider in the nation, after Excite@Home, can run a business with problems of this magnitude, and whether they should remain customers.

"It is difficult for me to understand that running a service of this magnitude, one would have a single point of failure and then no disaster recovery plan for such an occurrence," said one unhappy customer. "I hope the contract for the item that failed has some kind of damage provision."

Hoping to stem the number of fleeing customers, Time Warner officials promised a partial refund on customer's March invoice, in an e-mail sent out last week. Ironically enough, officials were unsure whether to mass e-mail the letter last Wednesday for fear of bringing the server down again.

Copyright 2001 by Jim Wagner, Corp.

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