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Leading internet service provider BT is to provide high-street retailer Debenhams with access to its next-generation, high-speed broadband network.

The firm has agreed a five-year deal which will see its 159 UK stores benefit from broadband speeds up to 16 time faster than those currently available.

Access to BT's network will enable branches to communicate in real-time with headquarters and other outlets - particularly with regards to sales and stock order details - and support the roll-out of new computer applications.

Steve Kircher, IT Director at Debenhams, said it is "a fundamental requirement" for retailers to have IT systems that are always available - transmitting vital sales, transactions and information around the business.

"By future-proofing and closely monitoring our IT networks, Debenhams will not only be able to communicate faster and more efficiently, we will also be able to stay ahead of competition," he claimed.

Diane McAuliffe, Director of Retail and Professional Services at BT Global Services, added that this is "a landmark project" that will transform Debenhams' business critical IT systems.

"We hope it will allow them to steal a march on the competition, while delivering cost savings to the business," she commented. 

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