EarthLink Seeking Access to AOL Deal


A major Internet-service provider has added its voice to the debate on
whether AT&T Corp. and Comcast Corp. should publicly release their broadband-carriage agreement reached last month with AOL Time Warner Inc.

Joining an array of consumer groups, EarthLink Inc. called on the Federal
Communications Commission to halt its 180-day review of the AT&T
Broadband-Comcast merger until the America Online Inc. broadband deal -- a key
element in the restructuring of Time Warner Entertainment -- is made available
for public review.

EarthLink, with about 5 million subscribers, is the No. 3 ISP in the

It claimed that AOL's carriage deals with Time Warner Cable and, now, with
AT&T-Comcast gave its rival a big leg up at a time when AT&T and Comcast
have largely refused to sign carriage deals with unaffiliated ISPs.

Comcast said it
was unnecessary to disclose the AOL carriage terms and it would resist efforts
to delay the FCC's merger review.

An FCC spokeswoman said the agency was reviewing EarthLink's request.

The FCC's self-imposed 180-day merger-review period for
AT&T-Comcast expires Oct. 21. The cable merger also requires Department of
Justice approval.