The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) unanimously accepted the merger terms offered by America Online and Time Warner yesterday.

The AOL and Time Warner combination will be required to open its cable system to competing Internet service providers, and will be prohibited from interfering with content passed along its cable network by non-affiliated ISPs.

Additionally, the newborn media giant will be prevented from entering into exclusive arrangements with other cable companies with respect to Internet services or interactive TV services, according to the FTC.

Robert Pitofsky, chairman of the FTC, said: "In the broad sense, our concern was that the merger of these two powerful companies would deny competitors access to this amazing broadband technology. This order is intended to ensure that this new medium, characterized by openness, diversity and freedom, will not be closed down as a result of this merger."