Open Access to Broadband Networks: A Case Study of the Aol/Time Warner Merger
46 Pages Posted: 7 May 2001
This Article provides a framework for the analysis of the potential effects of the recent AOL/Time Warner merger on the markets forbroadband Internet access and broadband Internet content. We consider two anticompetitive strategies that a vertically integrated firm such as AOL Time Warner, offering both broadband transport and portal services, could in theory profitably pursue. First, an integrated provider could engage in conduit discrimination?insulating its own conduit from competition by limiting its distribution of affiliated content and services over rival platforms. Second, an integrated provider could engage in content discrimination?insulating its own affiliated content from competition by blocking or degrading the quality of outside content. After examining the competitive conditions in the broadband portal and transport markets, we evaluate the post-merger incentives of AOL Time Warner to engage in either or both forms of discrimination.
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