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Road Runner recovers from email outage

The high-speed Net access provider that is a venture of Time Warner, Microsoft and MediaOne Group, among others, recovers from a three-day email outage in the Midwest.

Road Runner, the high-speed Net access provider that is a venture of Time Warner, Microsoft and MediaOne Group, among others, recovered from a three-day email outage in the Midwest late today.

Since last Saturday, subscribers in the Ohio, Kansas City, Kan., and Wichita, Kan., areas had been unable to receive email, according to the company. Messages could be sent, and inbound messages were stored, but could not be reached by subscribers, a spokeswoman said.

The breakdown apparently stemmed from the failure of a Microsoft NT-based server in a Kansas City data center, spokeswoman Sandy Colony said. The problem was fixed late this afternoon, another spokesman said.

A message posted on a technical support voice mail line early Monday had warned of a "major nationwide problem with email" delivery. That message had overstated the scale of the problem, and has since been fixed, Colony said.

The problem affected people inside the Time Warner and Cox Communications cable service areas, though no details on the number of subscribers affected were immediately available.

Some users complained about the email problem to CNET News.com.

Road Runner serves in excess of 550,000 customers in the communities where it is offered. It competes with services such as Excite@Home, which also provides a broadband service. Excite@Home has had its own problems with email and service outages in regions across the country.

The Road Runner service, providing high-speed Net access via cable modems, costs an average of $40 per month with a one-time installation fee of about $100.

In June 1998, Time Warner, MediaOne, Microsoft, Compaq and Advance/Newhouse formed a joint venture for Road Runner.