FTC giving AOL, Time Warner more time


America Online and Time Warner have three weeks to open their broadband platform to Internet competitors sufficiently to gain FTC approval for their merger. Late last week, the FTC prepared to ask federal judges to block the deal after failing to reach agreement on open-access conditions for Time Warner's high-speed cable lines, but AOL-Time Warner attorneys persuaded them to delay that decision.

Company officials have agreed to more concessions, including conditions that would require Time Warner to sign up competing providers before offering AOL broadband service. Media Access Project President Jeff Chester said consumer groups will use the extra time to try to persuade FTC officials to put conditions on AOL's interactive television service, too.