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Glitch slows RoadRunner newsgroups

Time Warner Cable says it has fixed a technical error responsible for scrambling some messages and file attachments posted to its Roadrunner newsgroups service.

Time Warner Cable on Tuesday said it has fixed a technical error responsible for scrambling some messages and file attachments posted to its Roadrunner newsgroups service.

Complaints surged earlier this week from Roadrunner customers, who wrote in online message boards that they were no longer able to post music and video files through the newsgroups service. Newsgroups are electronic discussion boards that allow subscribers to post messages to a central server, where they can be read or downloaded by other newsgroup subscribers.

Time Warner Cable spokesman Keith Cocozza confirmed that the service experienced a glitch beginning late Sunday or early Monday that caused non-text, or "binary," attachments such as MP3s to corrupt in some Roadrunner newsgroup postings. He said the problem has been fixed, although the cause remains unknown.

Cocozza denied that Roadrunner had changed its policies regarding video and music file attachments in newsgroup postings as a way to combat copyright infringement on the service, as speculated by some users. He said RoadRunner still lets people post MP3 and video files in newsgroup attachments, although the service has long imposed a 4MB cap on individual postings, which it continues to enforce.

The glitch comes as some cable companies work to increase the performance of their networks to entice customers, while at the same time cracking down on heavy bandwidth usage by individuals.

Time Warner's Road Runner cable modem service recently instituted download caps of 40GB per month. At the same time, RoadRunner has hiked its maximum download speed to 3 mbps from 1.5 mbps, and is undergoing tests to raise RoadRunner's upload speed to 512kbps, up from its current 364kbps.

"We've made the pipe fatter for customers so they can take full advantage of today's media-rich Internet experience," Cocozza said. "The last thing we want to do is prevent them from making good use of it."