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AT&T Adds Starz, Showtime to U-verse

AT&T’s U-verse TV service now has Starz and Showtime thanks to two new programming deals.

AT&T announced Tuesday that it had inked a carriage deal with Starz Entertainment Group to carry the premium-network provider’s linear, HD and on-demand programming. That includes 18 Starz and Encore channels ranging from Starz on Demand and Starz HDTV to Encore, Encore on Demand and Encore Love.

On the heels of that deal, AT&T Wednesday announced that it had secured rights from Showtime Networks to distribute Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix, Showtime Too, Showtime Showcase, Showtime Extreme, Showtime Beyond, Showtime Next, Showtime Women, Showtime FamilyZone, TMC xtra, Showtime HD, The Movie Channel HD, Showtime On Demand and The Movie Channel On Demand.

Both deals are helping U-verse to reach critical mass in its programming lineup in order to rival those of cable and satellite competitors. Recent deals also secured programming from Discovery Networks U.S., MTV Networks and BET Networks.

All the services will be delivered via AT&T’s Project Lightspeed fiber-optic network, which will extend optical lines into customer neighborhoods and supply high-speed connections through copper phone line or, in some new-home-construction projects, direct fiber links.

AT&T’s plan is to reach 19 million homes by the end of 2008.