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WROC Rochester Connects Time Warner Outage to “Capacity”/Exaflood Theory

Phillip Dampier April 28, 2009 Broadband "Shortage", Video 4 Comments

Argh…  Lauren MacDonough, WROC Web Reporter, what were you thinking?  MacDonough adds to WROC’s highlighted coverage of the Time Warner service outage, with a follow-up explanation that belies belief.  She gets the first part of the explanation correct: a router failed in Syracuse which affected domain name servers, among other things.  That assured any connections made through the Syracuse Operations Center would end up getting no further if they were relying on Time Warner’s equipment to route the traffic properly.

But then MacDonough wades out into the deep end, and gets into trouble.  She posits the theory it could have been a “strain” on its network which caused the hardware to fail, and then quotes Time Warner’s earlier press release about “Internet brownouts could be on the horizon,” and then draws a line between the events on Sunday and Time Warner’s exaflood theory.  [Shudder]

Generally speaking, traffic on an electronic piece of equipment does not wear it out, leading to a failure.  Routers have failed since Road Runner began service.  It happens.  Sometimes it’s heat related, other times a power supply stops functioning properly.  A pesky spider spinning a web inside the case might be indictable.  There are lots of reasons.  Heavy traffic, on a Sunday morning yet, causing the thing to flame out is unlikely to be among the first theories I’d come up with.

Some readers have asked why I’ve been covering this story in the first place.  Today you know.  It’s not an intention to pile-on any negative bad news about Time Warner, but rather to be sure we are on guard against media misinterpretation of unrelated events which lead to any inappropriate tie-ins to Time Warner’s kooky theory of broadband management.

As you’ve just seen, that’s precisely what Lauren MacDonough did.  It’s likely unintentional on her part, but it doesn’t change the fact we will need to help correct the record and not allow debunked exaflood theories to be used as “evidence” for usage caps and rationing tier plans.

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12 years ago

Another “reporter” taking the Time Warner Soma

12 years ago

Reporters are lazy. They rather just repeat info from an old press release than do some extra work and get the story right.

12 years ago


Can you imagine if there was a fatal car accident and the reporter covering it said “I think maybe alcohol was the cause…” with absolutely no information or evidence pointing in that direction? How is that any different from what she is doing here?

Tim (@tim)
12 years ago

You have to love reporters. 🙂 Anyways, about the “exaflood” theory that seems to be the modus operandi of Time Warner has a serious flaw. Why doesn’t “brownouts” happen in cities that have competition? Is it because they upgraded the system? Hmmm…. Back in the day before P2P kicked in full stream, these ISP’s could put several subscribers on one backbone and need not do anything like upgrading their lines. Most people back then just browsed the internet and checked their email. Most of the time though, their connection to the internet sat idle and did nothing most of the… Read more »

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Stop the Cap!