Zen Internet

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Coordinates: 53°36′10.08″N 2°9′36.36″W / 53.6028000°N 2.1601000°W / 53.6028000; -2.1601000

Zen Internet Ltd
HeadquartersRochdale, England
Key people
Paul Stobart (CEO) Richard Tang (Chairman)
ProductsInternet Services
Number of employees
413 (May 2012)

Zen Internet is an Internet service provider (ISP) based in Rochdale in Greater Manchester, England.


Zen was founded in 1995[1] by Richard Tang (then Managing Director, now Chairman) after a drink in the pub,[2] Zen Internet was one of the first Internet service providers in the UK. Zen began by providing Internet access to schools and small businesses in the Rochdale area. Its website says it has since moved from 2 employees in 1995 to 413 at the start of May 2012 and in 2004 achieved an annual turnover of £14.2 million along with a customer base of more than 77,000 broadband users nationwide.[3]

In February 2008, the company announced they would not be speaking to or partnering with Phorm, a controversial advertising company hoping to purchase user data from UK Internet service providers.[4]

In April 2008, Zen Internet moved all its employees from their purpose-built HQ on Moss Bridge Road in Rochdale into the much larger Sandbrook House offices located at Sandbrook Park (Rochdale), a move part funded by the North West Regional Development Agency.[5]

In August 2008, after the BBC proposed changing their content delivery provider for their iPlayer streaming service, Zen Internet warned that costs would increase once the move to Level3 was complete.[6]

Zen provides broadband to both businesses and home users. They were one of the early ISPs to offer 'self-install ADSL' and designed their network not to rely on other providers for backbone.[7] Zen Internet are currently a member of the CISAS (Communication and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme), an alternative dispute resolution scheme giving access to independent and speedy conflict resolution.[8]


Using Redback, Foundry, Juniper and Cisco hardware, the Zen core network is run over five POPs, two in their home town of Rochdale, Telecity in Manchester, Telehouse in London and a fifth POP in Leeds.

Zen Internet is a member of the UK peering points LINX, LONAP, ManNAP and IX Manchester. In 2005, Zen unbundled the Rochdale exchange followed by the Bury, Oldham and Blackfriars exchanges in 2006 to provide an unbundled service to local residents and businesses. Zen have six main product areas:


In 2006, the company won several awards at the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) annual awards ceremony. These awards were: "best business ISP", "best heavy business broadband", and "best uncontended service".[9]

The company featured in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 from 2003 to 2006 as well as featuring in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 in 2004.[10]

In 2010, Managing Director Richard Tang was named Customer Service Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young at an awards ceremony in Manchester. This award recognised the retraining scheme introduced by the company in the Rochdale area.[11]


  1. ^ Stuart Turton (13 August 2008). "Zen Internet". Times Online. Retrieved on 20 November 2008.
  2. ^ Rachel Bridge (6 March 2005). "Drink in a pub led to online fortune". London: PC Pro. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Retrieved on 17 December 2016.
  3. ^ https://www.zen.co.uk/why-zen
  4. ^ Chris Williams (29 February 2008). "Broadband big boys waiting on data pimping". The Register. Retrieved on 20 November 2008.
  5. ^ Neil Roscoe (10 April 2008). "£2m grant helps Zen Internet to expand within the region". NWDA. Retrieved on 20 November 2008.
  6. ^ Chris Williams (22 August 2008). "BBC iPlayer upgrade prompts new ISP complaints". The Register. Retrieved on 20 November 2008.
  7. ^ "Trouble ahead for broadband providers". BBC News. 25 January 2002. Retrieved on 20 November 2008.
  8. ^ "CISAS Members List". CISAS. Retrieved on 20 November 2008.
  9. ^ Alfred Hermida (24 February 2006). "UK rapped on data retention law". BBC Online. Retrieved on 3 November 2008.
  10. ^ "Sunday Times Tech Track 100". Fast Track. Retrieved on 20 November 2008.
  11. ^ Claire Spoors (18 June 2010). "Richard Tang named Customer Service Entrepreneur Of The Year". Ernst & Young. Retrieved on 19 July 2010.

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