The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday approved AOL Time Warner Inc.'s applications to bring a further four Internet service providers (ISPs) on to its cable Internet system as alternatives to its own ISP service.
The FTC approved Inter.net as an alternative ISP in all markets where AOL Time Warner cable operates, according to an FTC statement. It also approved New York Connect.net Ltd. as a competitor in the New York City area, Internet Junction Corp. in Tampa Bay and central Florida, and South Texas Internet Connections Inc. (STIC.net) in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin, Texas.
The approvals may allow AOL to begin offering service in those markets. The FTC already has approved national ISP Earthlink Inc. as an alternative ISP on AOL's network.
To satisfy FTC concerns concerning AOL's merger with Time Warner Inc., announced last year, AOL Time Warner must offer three alternatives to its own ISP service in each market where it offers cable Internet access. The FTC was concerned about the possibility of the merged company dominating both transmission and content in its cable Internet services.
AOL Time Warner has submitted applications to the FTC to approve a number of additional ISPs, both local and national, including United Online Inc., the large national ISP formed through the merger of NetZero Inc. and Juno Online Services Inc.