FCC restarts 'countdown' to AOL merger

www.nwfusion.com –

Under pressure to complete its review, the Federal Communication Commission late Tuesday restarted its "countdown" to complete the regulatory approval process of the AOL/Time Warner merger.

The FCC target now is to complete its work in the next six months, according to a Wall Street Journal report. On Oct. 11, the FCC stopped its clock at day 179 because of possible changes in the deal during negotiations for antitrust approval with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the report said.

Officials at the FCC could not be reached immediately for comment.

The FTC gave its approval to the estimated $160 billion AOL/Time Warner merger on Thursday, Dec. 14. The FCC agreed late Tuesday to start its countdown on completing its work on the regulatory approval.

Thus far, it is clear that pressure is likely to be put on AOL and Time Warner to open its instant messenger service to a competitor as a condition of the FCC's approval. AOL has not yet permitted other instant messaging systems to send messages to its users, citing user security and safety.

The FCC, in Washington, D.C., can be reached at http://www.fcc.gov/. AOL, in Dulles, Va., is at 703-448-8700, or at http://www.aol.com/. Time Warner, in New York, can be reached at 212-484-8000, or at http://www.timewarner.com/.

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