When the AOL TIme Warner merger was being evaluated, one important issue concerned “open access” to the new company’s cable systems. If AOL Time Warner refused to let anyone else use its cable systems to deliver Internet access, then it would be in a position to monopolize local markets and put competitors out of business. AOL Time Warner waffled, but eventually declared unambiguously that it supported open access to its cable systems. Based in part on that assurance, the merger was approved.

According to this article, AOL Time Warner was lying. Not only are local and regional ISPs being left out of the discussions about cable access, but also in several places AOL Time Warner is refusing to run advertising from the local ISPs on the television stations it owns. In Texas, a high school was told it couldn’t broadcast its football games unless it dropped a local ISP as a sponsor.

Big business is running wild these days, and it’s not pretty, folks.

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