Updated from 4:06 p.m. ET
Federal Trade Commission
is leaning toward blocking
pending purchase of
unless the companies agree to let competitors use their cable lines, according to
The Washington Post
In areas where Time Warner has cable systems, the FTC is worried that the combined company could control high-speed Internet access over cable lines. "As a result, consumers could be forced to accept AOL-Time Warner TV programming and Internet content exclusively," the
said, quoting sources close to the matter. Time Warner is the nation's second biggest cable operator.
The deal faces plenty of hurdles. European authorities also are worried about the power a combined AOL and Time Warner would have. The two are scheduled to present their case for the merger to the European Commission Thursday, according to the
But AOL and Time Warner contend they're already opening Time Warner's cable system. Time Warner recently agreed to give Internet service provider
access to its cable lines. And the
quoted an AOL spokeswoman as saying the companies are committed to open access. Neither company returned phone calls seeking comments Monday.
reported that the FTC at a minimum wants guarantees that the combined company will continue on the open-access path after the deal closes.
The Wall Street Journal
said in its online edition Monday that the combined AOL/Time Warner also may face restrictions on business relationships with
, which operates the nation's biggest cable system.