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Friday, 12 January, 2001, 10:44 GMT
AOL-Time Warner: Conditions of the deal

Regulators both in the European Union and the United States have approved the merger between AOL and Time Warner, creating the world's largest internet and media company. BBC News Online documents the conditions imposed on the deal.

Federal Communications Commission

  • Internet Access

    Time Warner will have to allow other high-speed broadband internet providers other than AOL full access to its systems.

    That means subscribers to Time Warner's broadband internet connection will be able to use another internet provider in the US, such as Earthlink.

    Time Warner must also allow such AOL rivals using their broadband connections to bill their customers directly, and must allow them to set up the rival service as their first screen when they log on.

  • Instant Messaging

    New versions of AOL's popular instant messaging service will have to work with competing services, but only once it becomes offered on broadband. This could include, for example, consumers being able to video conference each other or send streaming video clips instantly.

    AOL Time Warner will have to ensure that its new system can operate successfully with at least three rivals, similar to the way consumers now on different systems can exchange e-mail.

  • Relationship with AT&T

    AOL Time Warner must sever all links with rival AT&T's broadband cable service.

    A month ago the FCC ordered AT&T to sell its 25% stake in Time Warner's cable systems.

Federal Trade Commission

  • Access for other Internet Service Providers

    Time Warner must allow other at least three other internet service providers access to its broadband services on the same terms it offers to AOL.

    Time Warner must ensure that the other broadband operators receive the same priority and quality of service as AOL.

  • Access to other broadband services

    AOL must ensure that it offers its subscribers high-speed internet access via telephone lines (known as DSL) as well as through it own Time Warner cable systems, where that is available.

European Commission

The European Commission prohibited AOL Time Warner from merging with the UK's leading music company EMI.

They acted in order to prevent the new company dominating the growing market for on-line delivery of music over the internet and software-based music players.

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