Memphis alarm bell

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Add the Memphis, Tenn., power and water utility to the list of private companies trying to gum up the America Online-Time Warner merger.

Memphis, Light, Gas & Water, which co-owns a venture trying to establish a broadband network that would compete with the Time Warner cable franchise there, told FCC Cable Bureau staffers on June 26 that Time Warner has long aimed to thwart competition. As evidence, they accused the company of trying to stop MLG & W's Memphis Networx from establishing a broadband network by derailing the venture's applications to state and city regulators and even the Tennessee legislature.

Memphis Networx's chief executive argued that the future AOL Time Warner should be barred from lobbying against new entrants in Time Warner markets and should be required to let competitors connect to its broadband network.