BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : JULY 31, 2000 ISSUE
LEGAL AFFAIRS

Where the Debate Is Raging


Openness is a hot issue all over the New Economy

CABLE INTERNET SERVICE
Cable may be the single best conduit to deliver high-speed Internet into people's homes. But the feds, consumer groups, and rival companies worry that if cable companies are the gatekeepers to broadband Net access, they'll favor their own content or make customers use their Internet service providers.

WIRELESS INTERNET SERVICE
In Europe, wireless companies have tried to impose their own home pages on customers reaching the Internet from their cell phones, causing a public outcry and government intervention. Expect the same if that happens in the U.S.

INTERNET BACKBONE SERVICES
These supernetworks that link lesser networks are a big reason the WorldCom-Sprint merger was blocked on both sides of the Atlantic. Justice worried the merged entity could dominate the market if it refused to open up to rivals.

INSTANT MESSAGING
AOL's closed network of 90 million users is bigger than all others combined. But the company has resisted hooking up with its biggest potential rivals on privacy and safety grounds. That troubles the FTC, which is reviewing the proposed Time Warner-AOL deal.

E-COMMERCE EXCHANGES
The Justice Dept. is looking at a planned travel site called Orbits, owned by five major airlines. One concern: that owners of the site might jointly refuse to share fare data with rivals Travelocity and Expedia.


DATA: BUSINESS WEEK


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