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America Online Inc. is still trying to reassure the Federal Communications Commission that its $350 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. will not hurt competition for interactive television, high-speed Internet services, or instant messaging. In an Aug. 28 letter to the FCC, released Tuesday, AOL told the agency that competing interactive television service providers will be able to reach its subscribers. The Dulles, Va.-based AOL said an interactive television – or ITV – provider need only use Liberate Technologies’ open platform, which is a type of technology that alerts users that interactive services are available. “Subscribers can readily access the interactive content of ITV partners and non-ITV partners alike,” AOL said in the filing, which was in response to an Aug. 14 request from the FCC for more details on the merger. AOL reaffirmed its commitment to offer Internet service through DSL lines, citing deals with Verizon Communications Inc. and SBC Communications Inc. “AOL is continuing to pursue contracts with other DSL providers but has not yet consummated any new agreements since the date of the merger to Time Warner was announced,” it said. A list of companies AOL is negotiating with was redacted from the public version of the filing. At a public hearing last month, some phone company executives said they worry that AOL and AT&T Corp. will enter into a deal in which AOL would let AT&T use the Time Warner cable systems to provide local phone service in exchange for requiring AT&T cable customers to use AOL’s broadband services. AOL said it is “not engaged in any discussions regarding the provision of local telephone services.” Yet it also said it was negotiating with AT&T to offer AOL to the phone company’s cable subscribers. AOL said it was committed to other distribution platforms, noting that it recently signed deals to deliver wireless services to Sprint Communications Corp. and AT&T Wireless. “All of these agreements provide consumers with nationwide mobile access to AOL content and thus advance the company’s AOL Anywhere strategy,” it said. The FCC also asked AOL to detail existing agreements with AT&T Corp. AOL said these include the June 22 mobile channel agreement that will give AT&T Wireless customers access to AOL e-mail, Moviefone listings, and other services. It also is working with AT&T on a broadband cable trial in Colorado. The companies have a deal to swap traffic bound for their two networks. Copyright (c)2000 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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