Gates Praises Cable's Internet Openness


Chicago -- Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates -- whose company has joined a
broadband-lobbying campaign against the cable industry in Washington, D.C. --
praised the cable industry Monday for providing openness on its broadband

Gates, who did not mention the lobbying effort directly, commented on cable's
high-speed-data platform while seated beside Comcast Corp. president and CEO
Brian Roberts and AOL Time Warner Inc. chairman and CEO Richard Parsons.

"I am really pleased at how the cable industry has been providing openness on
the cable platform," Gates said. "There is a lot of openness being provided on
that platform."

Gates, however, did not say whether it was necessary to continue with the

Roberts, whose lobbying forces in Washington have been working to counter the
Microsoft offensive, said he was delighted with Gates' comments.

Parsons -- whose Time Warner Cable systems are required to provide three
Internet-service providers in addition to AOL Broadband -- said he believed
regulation tended to be "backward-looking" and was necessary to correct market
abuses as they arose.

"We don't know how big this [broadband] thing can be," Parsons added. "Let
the market run."

Microsoft -- along with Inc., eBay Inc. and The Walt Disney Co. --
formed a lobbying group called the Coalition of Broadband Users and

The group has called upon the Federal Communications Commission to adopt
regulations that would block cable operators and other owners of high-speed-data
networks from using their access power to discriminate against Web merchants
with which they do not have financial relationships. has urged the FCC to impose nondiscrimination rules against cable
or to require cable to carry multiple ISPs in order to protect both consumers
and Web merchants.