AOL/TWX: FCC May Force AOL to Open Instant Messenger Service

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The

Federal Communications Commission

is considering a proposal to force

America Online

(AOL)

to open its instant-messaging service to rivals as a condition of approval for its acquisition of

Time Warner

(TWX)

,

The Wall Street Journal

reported.

The article said proposals by the FCC are only a first step in the merger review, and they could change significantly in the next month, before it goes to the full commission for a vote.

Another proposal would make Time Warner open its high-speed cable lines to competitors beyond the extent to which the companies already have consented, the

Journal

said, citing people briefed on the merger review.

It was reported earlier this month that the

Federal Trade Commission

may try to block the deal unless the companies agree to let competitors use their cable lines.