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UPDATE 1-BT offers long-term price deal to lure wholesale fibre customers

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LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) - BT said its Openreach unit would offer long-term price certainty to its wholesale communications provider customers to help drive the adoption of the full fibre broadband network (FFBN) it is building across the country.

BT is spending 15 billion pounds through its network arm Openreach to build a fibre network serving 25 million homes by the end of 2026 - five million more, and earlier, than previously planned.

In order to boost uptake, Openreach will give communications providers pricing certainty for up to 10 years where they commit to use FFBN when available, said BT in a statement on Thursday.

BT gained a new billionaire investor in June when Patrick Drahi, a Franco-Israeli telecoms entrepreneur, took a 12.1% stake in the company.

He believes there is no need to sell a stake in Openreach, a person familiar with the situation told Reuters. BT has recently set out a plan to find a partner to help build part of its new fibre network.

BT said its new price offer for communications providers followed extensive engagement with its customers and sought to offer them competitive prices plus a fair return to Openreach. “We’re determined to make full fibre the default option for customers throughout the UK, so we’ve been working closely with communications providers to offer simple and competitive pricing,” Openreach’s managing director of customer Katie Milligan said in the statement. (Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton)

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