The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing consumer advocates' request to disqualify High Speed Access Corp. as one of three unaffiliated Internet service providers America Online must carry as a condition of government approval for AOL's takeover of Time Warner.
The Center for Digital Democracy complained that High Speed Access, a small Colorado ISP, has ties to AOL that call into question its ability to compete with the online behemoth. Microsoft founder and cable venture capitalist Paul Allen owns a 50% stake in High Speed Access. He also owns Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable TV operator in the U.S., which buys programming from AOL Time Warner.
Along with High Speed Access, AOL Time Warner wants EarthLink and Juno Online to be its unaffiliated ISPs. Comments are due to the FTC July 31. - Bill McConnell