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Zen Internet has apologised to its customers after around 11,000 subscribers were left without broadband services for much of Sunday (April 27th).

The broadband provider - which has a strong track record for reliability and customer service - was affected after a fibre-optic cable broke down in the Manchester area.

Households and businesses were left offline for eight hours as the firm's engineers fought to resolve the technical issue.

Robin Griffith, Head of Network and Infrastructure at the firm, revealed in a blog post that both fibre and ADSL broadband customers were affected.

"I’d like to apologise for the inconvenience this outage has caused for many of our customers," he stated.

Mr Griffith said Zen's network is designed to transfer to alternative circuits in the case of a failure, but this did not operate as expected during Sunday’s incident.

"This meant that whilst specialist teams were progressing the resolution of the original fibre break, other engineers were actively trying to understand why the failover was not operating as previously tested," he explained.

"The fix to the fibre circuit restored service but our investigation into the failover issue is on-going and points to an unusual set of conditions affecting the equipment involved."

Mr Griffith also apologised for the absence of detailed updates about the outage over the firm's @zeninternet Twitter feed.

"We recognise that we could have been more proactive in providing updates and responding to customer queries for which we sincerely apologise, and are working to ensure any communications are managed more effectively in future," he stated.

For ten years in a row, Zen Internet has been named Best ISP at the PC Pro Awards, having built up an excellent reputation in the UK broadband industry.

In 2013, the company received scores of 95 per cent for customer support and 95 per cent for reliability, as voted for by members of the public.

But the question is, will last weekend's outage put pay to Zen's chances of making it 11-in-a-row in 2014?

Could there finally be a different recipient of the Best ISP award, or will the goodwill built up with customers over the past few years ensure Zen emerges unscathed and hangs on to its title?

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