Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Time Warner Teams Up With AT&T

WASHINGTON -- AT&T Corp. has announced a deal to provide telephone and Internet service over Time Warner Inc. cable television wires reaching 20 million U.S. households, advancing AT&T's strategy of bypassing local telephone companies.

Through the Time Warner alliance, and a proposed $50.4 billion purchase of cable giant Tele-Communications Inc., AT&T would get direct access to 43 percent of the nation's homes. AT&T lost such links to consumers when the regional Bell companies were split off from the company in 1984.

In an interview Monday, AT&T chairman Michael Armstrong cited benefits similar to those he predicted with the TCI purchase: Consumers would be able to buy local and long-distance phone service, high-speed Internet access and cable television programming from a single source and have the charge appear on one monthly bill - at rates 20 percent lower, he said, than what they otherwise would pay.

Becoming a one-stop shopping point for all communications services is a key part of the strategies of nearly every large communications company. Last week AT&T unveiled a one-stop service called Personal Network that combines wireless and conventional phone calling onto a single bill with simplified pricing.

Under the Time Warner-AT&T service, which would begin on a test basis in two cities this year, customers would connect their telephones and computers to jacks connecting to the Time Warner cable system. AT&T is planning to absorb the cost of the new television set-top boxes that would be required.

Armstrong said he hoped that alliances with other cable systems will boost AT&T's access to 60 percent to 65 percent of the nation's households. Sources said AT&T has talked with Comcast Corp., Cablevision Systems Corp. and MediOne Group Inc.