In the latest move to expand its reach, AT&T is forming a joint venture with British Telecommunications PLC that will combine their international operations and develop a new Internet system.

The deal, announced at a news conference Sunday, follows the failure of an earlier plan by BT to acquire MCI Communications Corp., the No. 2 U.S. carrier behind AT&T. BT was outbid by rival WorldCom Inc."The merging of our international assets to form this global venture will enable BT and AT&T to deliver in a unique and powerful way the seamless global services our multinational customers need and want," said AT&T's president, John D. Zeglis.

The companies plan a software network for the Internet that will enable computers to communicate with one another for a variety of uses including e-mail, electronic financial trading and visual and audio transmissions.

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They say the network will be faster and clearer and have a wider reach than existing competitors' systems.

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