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Orange and BT in broadband alliance

France Telecom's Orange network has signed an outsourcing deal with telecom operator British Telecom

Under the agreement, Orange will transfer its fixed-line infrastructure to BT. Orange's network covers about 65 per cent of the UK population. BT will incorporate the fixed-line coverage into its own broadband network, which should prove to be a boon for Orange's 840,000 broadband customers.

The move has opened up a new front in the fight for broadband market share, and is expected to extend Orange's fixed-line coverage across the country. It will also allow the company to go head-to-head with rivals such as market leader BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk in the growing broadband market.

Orange is the country's fifth-largest broadband provider. Its vice-president of strategy, Bruno Duarte, said the company decided to outsource its network to make broadband commercially viable. About 61 Orange employees will be transferred to BT as part of the deal, which would also reduce charges for customers.