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Broadband, cable lift AT&T

$856 mil in accounting charges add to red ink

Growth in its cable and broadband unit — set for acquisition by Comcast later this year — was one of the few bright spots as telecom giant AT&T posted a broadened first-quarter loss of $975 million Wednesday.

The red ink, which compares to a year-earlier loss of $373 million, includes a $856 million charge for accounting changes, eliminating the amortization of good will.

Overall, revenue dropped 8% to $12.02 billion. In its AT&T Broadband unit — which includes the massive cable ops set for takeover by Comcast — conglom marked a 14% improvement in revenue to $2.44 billion, after adjusting for cable acquisitions and dispositions since the year-earlier period.

“During the quarter, we maintained our focus on managing costs, increasing revenue in our growth business and improving customer satisfaction,” said AT&T chairman-CEO C. Michael Armstrong.

AT&T shares fell 10¢, or less than 1%, to $13.75 on Wednesday.

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