PORTLAND – The impact of Tropical Storm Irene continued to be felt Wednesday, when flooding caused by Sunday’s rain knocked out a fiber-optic cable in Vermont and cut Internet and digital phone service for almost four hours to about 350,000 customers of Time Warner Cable in New England.

The company’s network crashed about 2:30 p.m. when a backup cable failed near Brattleboro, Vt., said Time Warner Cable spokesman Andrew Russell.

Brattleboro, along the Connecticut River, experienced heavy flooding after the storm.

Russell said Time Warner was using the backup cable through Vermont because the storm had knocked out the company’s primary line.

The outage left hundreds of thousands of people and businesses without Internet and phone service and created problems with the company’s cable television service.

Will Zurkan, an employee at Portland-based Kepware Technologies, said his firm’s Internet and voice-over-Internet phone services failed, severing communications with customers.

“Our entire phone and computer system is Internet-based,” said Zurkan during the outage. “Our customers can’t even buy products if they want to.”

Time Warner engineers restored the company’s services about 6:10 p.m.

Staff Writer Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or at:

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