RealTime IT News

Time Warner, SBC End Dispute

Time Warner Inc., Friday announced it had reached a settlement with SBC Communications Inc. over alleged anti-competitive and unlawful tactics practiced in Texas.

Officials for the two companies would not further discuss terms of the dispute settlement, signed in July.

The complaint, filed with the Texas Public Utilities Commission in May, claimed Time Warner offered to pay employees cash or free cable Internet access if they signed up for digital subscriber line service and later cancelled them. The offer was mailed to 1,200 Time Warner employees in Texas.

The process would show where DSL service was available, giving Time Warner and its Road Runner cable Internet service an unfair advantage.

The SBC also sent a letter detailing the complaint to the Federal Communications Commission, which is looking at the proposed Time Warner-America Online, Inc., merger. Both companies have maintained the $116.4 billion merger would not stifle competition for high-speed Internet access.

Edward Adler, Time Warner spokesman, said the company was sorry for what was done in Texas and that it only happened in 20 cases before the scheme was stopped.

"It was clear that we made a mistake at the local level," Adler said. "We apologized, and we made a settlement."

According to Michael Coe, SBC spokesperson, the settlement was filed to the PUC, who later approved the deal. The FCC still maintains the letter for its use in its talks over the Time Warner-America Online Inc. merger.