I am waiting for a light to come on, somewhere
I suppose that everyone has an idea of who AT&T is. It seems that no one knows who Time Warner is.
Time Warner used to be a competitor of AT&T with its Time Warner Cable. TWC -- often colloquially referred to as "Time Warner" -- was sold off a few years ago, recently bought by Charter and is now Spectrum, which continues to be a competitor with AT&T, most notably in Internet, cable telephony, and cable television, which are now promoted at exactly the same "introductory" rates as AT&T's. How surprising.
Anyhow, Time Warner is now only a content company. It has nothing to do with "coverage," urban, rural, or otherwise. It is a large company, but it is NOT a competitor of AT&T. So the questions cited in the article -- "how coverage and reliability would improve – particularly in rural areas – and how the combined company would ensure that consumers have a choice in service providers and plans." -- are fairly stupid. Can the proposed bigger huger corporation be a good thing? Maybe, maybe not. But this merger is not antitrust material, especially if AOL Time Warner itself used to sell services and content at the same time and that was okay.
By the way, AOL was spun back off in 2009. And a proposal for 21st Century Fox in 2014 to buy Time Warner was cancelled due to worries about antitrust penalties. Content versus content: apples and apples I can understand.