AOL Time Warner
filed an application with the Federal
Trade Commission Friday to accept PSINet spin off Inter.net as an
unaffiliated Internet service provider (ISP).
In order to meet FTC conditions set at the time of the merger of AOL and Time Warner, the media giant must launch an unaffiliated ISP on its Time Warner cable network before it can launch a high-speed version of its America Online service on the network. Furthermore, 90 days after it launches its AOL service, two more independent ISPs must launch on the network.
National ISPs EarthLink Inc.
and United Online (the aggregate of Juno Online Services Inc. and NetZero) have already
signed agreements with Time Warner Cable.
Inter.net, a worldwide ISP as a result of PSINet’s decision to lump all its
ISP holdings together and spin it off just prior to its bankruptcy
proceedings, has a relatively small presence in the U.S., with
approximately 500,000 customers worldwide. U.S. numbers were not available.
The FTC is accepting public opinion on the proposal until Nov. 14, when it
will make its decision.
Inter.net is AOL Time Warner’s replacement pick after a deal with Paul Allen’s
cable ISP High-Speed Access Corp. fell
through last month. Anti-trust advocates expressed
concern over the fact that Vulcan Ventures, which has a stake in HSA,
had too many other agreements with AOL to be considered truly unaffiliated.