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AOL Time Warner finds new ISP partner

In an attempt to satisfy regulatory requirements, the company asks the FTC to let another provider offer high-speed Net access on the media giant's cable network.

In an attempt to satisfy regulatory requirements, AOL Time Warner is asking the Federal Trade Commission to let another independent service provider offer high-speed Net access on the media giant's cable network.

If the FTC approves the application, submitted last week, customers could choose to receive online access from Internet Junction Services over AOL Time Warner's cable systems in central Florida.

The Internet and media company also asked the FTC to approve another ISP, New York Connect.Net, for cable-modem service via its system in New York. The company added that it plans to submit shortly for FTC approval an agreement with South Texas Internet Connections to offer its high-speed access on its system in Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

"We're very pleased to come to those agreements," said Kathy McKiernan, an AOL Time Warner spokeswoman. "We think those agreements will bring additional choice and competition to our consumers."

As the owner of the nation's second-largest cable network, AOL Time Warner sells high-speed interactive services to customers. Regulators imposed conditions on AOL Time Warner's network after competitors raised concerns that the company's cable ownership would leave out rivals looking to launch high-speed Internet access services.

The FTC is requiring the media giant to offer high-speed Internet access over its cable systems from at least three rivals. The company has deals to offer services from EarthLink and from United Online, formed by last month's merger of NetZero and Juno Online Services. But AOL Time Warner lost its third ISP partner last month when High Speed Access pulled out of its agreement, citing financial difficulties.

Despite the collapse of the High Speed Access deal, AOL Time Warner has begun offering EarthLink and its own America Online division in Columbus, Ohio; Syracuse, N.Y.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Tampa, Fla.

AOL Time Warner said the FTC is reviewing its agreement with United Online.