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Level 3, France Telecom Pen North America Pact

Level 3 Communications has signed a multi-year contract to provide broadband transport and co-location services to France Telecom , the companies announced today.

Specifics of the deal between the Broomfield, Colo., fiber-optic network operator and the Paris voice and data carrier weren't disclosed.

"We're pleased that France Telecom will continue to rely on Level 3 as its principal network partner in North America, and we look forward to providing them with the highest quality communications services," Kevin O'Hara, Level 3's president and COO, said in a statement.

The new pact replaces a 20-year dark fiber contract signed by the companies in 2000. Under that agreement, France Telecom acquired a nationwide dark fiber network from Level 3, along with ongoing maintenance and co-location services.

Now, the fiber strands leased to France Telecom in the initial transaction will revert to Level 3. The switchover is should to be completed in the first quarter.

"This agreement makes sense for France Telecom," Jean-Philippe Vanot, executive vice president of France Telecom's networks, carriers and IT division, said in a statement.

Contracting out services to Level 3 will allow France Telecom to deliver the same services to retail and wholesale customers while increasing its competitiveness, Vanot continued.