After announcing their merger last week, America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc. initially acknowledged the importance of keeping the Internet open and diverse.

The companies’ public vow to open their network to competing Internet service providers was a marked shift for Time Warner, which previously had resisted any such move. If any corporate chief executive officer understands the importance of openness to the continued health of the Internet, it is AOL’s Steve Case, who has advocated open access consistently since the issue first appeared.

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