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FCC Approves AOL/Time Warner Merger

The Federal Communications Commission gave the final approval to the US$106 billion merger of America Online and Time Warner. The deal will give AOL access to Time Warner's high-speed cable lines allowing the merged company to leverage content to AOL subscribers. The two conditions put on the merger opened Time Warner's cable lines to other Internet Service Providers and stipulated that any upgrades in AOL's instant messenger service would allow communication with other instant messenger services. Currently, AOL instant messenger users can only communicate to other AOL subscribers. "The conditions we impose today are forward-looking and fair," said FCC chairman Bill Kennard. "They preserve the openness of the Internet. They protect consumers and avoid heavy-handed regulation by using a narrowly tailored market-opening approach. And they ensure that neither AOL Time Warner nor a government agency will pick winners and losers in this dynamic marketplace." How this will affect cartoon-land is yet to be totally known. However, Time Warner's content, which includes the Looney Tunes, Hanna Barbera and Cartoon Network libraries, will easily be leveraged to AOL subscribers. In addition, high-speed access to this content may become more accessible. Plus, future updates to instant messaging will include video, which could be yet another way to promote, sell and view AOL Time Warner animated content.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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