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Up to 300,000 of BT Openworld's customers suffered an Internet blackout on Monday after an electrical fault damaged the ISP's kit.

The exact details are not known but BT's ISP has described the incident as a "serious electrical fault" that knocked out part of its service for three hours on Monday afternoon.

Normal service to BT Openworld's two million punters wasn't resumed until almost nine o'clock in the evening.

Said the ISP in an email to punters: "You may have had problems accessing your email and personal web pages between 1.40pm and 4.40pm on Monday 10th March.

"A serious electrical fault damaged some of our equipment and, as a result, we had to restart many of our systems.

"We have emergency procedures in place for such rare incidents and our engineers worked as quickly as possible to replace the damaged equipment and restore the service.

"Unfortunately, up to 15 per cent of our customers may have experienced email problems until 8.45pm, when normal service to everyone was resumed."

The ISP has apologised for the incident and insists that no emails were lost during the downtime. ®

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