The AOL-Time Warner merger has drawn "sceptical questioning" from the Senate Judiciary Committee, over the companies’ joint pledge to open up Time Warner's cable television systems to other ISPs, the New York Times has reported.

The pledge was made a few hours before the start of the hearing into the potential antitrust status of the merger. The merged companies must comply with Federal antitrust laws.

Senator Orrin Hatch, head of the panel, said: "I believe a degree of healthy scepticism is in order, given what is at stake here."

However, The New York Times reports that the CEO's of both Time Warner - Gerald Levin - and AOL - Stephen Case - stressed their commitment to open-access, free-market competition, innovation and privacy. Though the merger is expected to go through, many Senators expressed misgivings.