THOUSANDS of frustrated Virgin Media and Sky customers across Dorset were without services for more than 12 hours after a cable was damaged by workers.

Services went down at around 11.30pm on Wednesday and some users were without the internet well into Thursday afternoon.

The problem affected thousands across parts of England, with Sky customers unable to access the internet or make calls and Virgin Mobile services also down.

Sky said the issue had been caused by a “fibre-cable break”, understood to mean engineers had damaged a cable.

The service checker website Downdetector said Bournemouth was among the locations with the most reported issues.

One Upton resident and Virgin Media customer said: “I’m absolutely raging. It’s not the first time this has happened. 

“I work from home so it has had an impact on my entire schedule. It’s costing me time and money.”

At around 2pm, Sky said the issue had been resolved and its customers were able to get online and make and receive calls.

Virgin Media said just after 4.30pm that its services had been restored.

A spokesperson confirmed the disruption was caused by “an unexpected fibre break”.

Gordon Fong, director of DataCenta Hosting in Bournemouth, which tweeted updates on the situation, said: “All of the huge global players have had issues and will continue to have problems every now and again, so the budgets and resources behind Google, Microsoft, BT and so on can’t totally eradicate outages of which some have been severe.

“For a service that costs £20-£30 per month, you are part of the masses. Nor if you pay a lot more does that necessarily protect you if the problem is at the core of the supplier’s network. Also, not every business can have multiple internet lines from different suppliers.”

He added: “For home business users, there is a case for not having your broadband and mobile services from the same supplier but beware some suppliers actually use the network from another big name supplier.”

Rob Rutherford, chief executive of Bournemouth IT firm QuoStar, said: “These things happen and will always happen. Cables are still physical and thus can be broken; either at an exchange, an outside cabinet or through something like a digger cutting them by accident. These outages are fairly rare but obviously have associated costs, both hard and soft – sometimes more significant than expected when the outage is a long one.

“A business needs to understand the hourly cost of downtime and then they can decide if they wish to mitigate the risk, generally through the installation of an additional internet connection.”

Last month Virgin Media customers faced around five hours of issues with TV services during the Six Nations rugby union clash between England and Ireland