(Reuters/Joshua Lott/Files)

Time Warner Cable is recovering from a major Internet blackout after network problems led to a sudden disruption of service for all of its broadband subscribers nationwide, the company said Wednesday.

The outage occurred at 4:30 a.m. Eastern time, according to company spokesman Bobby Amirshahi, and knocked out access to the Web for TWC's 11.4 million residential customers who buy Internet service. That's nearly 80 percent of Time Warner Cable's entire residential customer base of 14.4 million.

By 6 a.m. Eastern, the company said, the problems had been mostly fixed.

"During our routine network maintenance, an issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services," TWC said in a statement.

Time Warner Cable is currently working with Comcast to complete a $45 billion merger. TWC has a significant footprint in New York, Ohio, and California, and a merger would give Comcast control of many of the TWC customers in these areas.

(SNL Kagan)

The massive outage, however brief, probably doesn't help the company with regulators who've signaled they'll examine the deal closely. The Federal Communications Commission is responsible for determining whether allowing the two companies to combine would be in the public interest.

Meanwhile, ads for Verizon FiOS are appearing at the top of some searches for "TWC" on Twitter, though it's unclear whether the ads are connected to the outage or simply the result of a prior business decision.