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Gubmint wants to stop corporate pigs from monopolizing the Internet. Good, this is what the government should be doing.

Sunday October 15 10:57 AM ET

Report: U.S. Preparing to Block AOL-Time Warner Deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. government officials are preparing to block America Online Inc.'s (NYSE:AOL - news) merger with Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX - news) if an agreement over Internet access is not hammered out within two weeks, the Washington Post reported in its Saturday edition.

Unnamed sources said negotiators for both sides have been unable to reach a deal over how the merged company would ensure that rival Internet service providers would have access to its high-speed cable network.

Attorneys for the Federal Trade Commission must rule by Oct. 27 whether or not to approve the merger. Sources said both sides remain far apart in their positions and a deal is unlikely by that time period.

While the companies could ask for the deadline to be pushed back, FTC attorneys are preparing litigation to block the merger, the sources said.

A spokeswoman for AOL told the Post that the merger was on track to close in the fall. The FTC declined to comment.

The world's largest Internet services provider's efforts to buy the cable and publishing giant Time Warner won European approval on Wednesday only after AOL offered to sever all structural links with German media group Bertelsmann AG (BTGGga.F). That concession eliminated the risk of dominance in the emerging market for online delivery of music over the Internet and software-based music players.

-- Ralph Nader (corporations@must.die), October 15, 2000

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