U.S. approves AOL – Time Warner merger

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) unanimously accepted merger terms offered by America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc. Thursday. Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the deal.

AOL and Time Warner would be required to open its cable system to competing Internet service providers, would be prohibited from interfering with content passed along its cable bandwidth by non-affiliated ISPs, and prevented from entering into exclusive arrangements with other cable companies with respect to Internet services or interactive TV services, according to a statement on the FTC Web site.

“In the broad sense, our concern was that the merger of these two powerful companies would deny to competitors access to this amazing new broadband technology,” said Robert Pitofsky, chairman of the FTC, in the statement. “This order is intended to ensure that this new medium, characterized by openness, diversity and freedom, will not be closed down as a result of this merger.”