I got the same problem here in France. Server not responding more than 3 minutes. I closed the game. and i can't get in anymore. It's 2:53 pm (GMT +1.00) I don't think the shard maintenance already begins. I have no problems with my internet connection and i see Server is up on www.startrekonline.com.
I was having problems as well so I am trying a complete reinstall of the game to see if that helps the issue, but I am not very hopeful that it will. Especially since it looks like I won't be able to get the game reinstalled prior to the actual scheduled maintenance start time.
Another problem I have encountered that has perturbed me to no end is that I attempted to purchase 25.00 US Dollars worth of Zen using Paypal earlier today (around 3:00 am PST) and for some reason the purchase is showing up fine on both my paypal account and bank account, but it does not seem to be appearing on the Perfect World Entertainment Wallet AT ALL. Thus I have apparently wasted 25.00 USD that has somehow disappeared into the ?ther. I have submitted a ticket about this matter. But I am not hopeful that this will be resolved before the end of the Key's Sale, which is unfortunate for me.