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Ford, UPS and Visa want net neutrality, but they won't tell you that

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It's not just tech giants (and President Obama) pushing for a tougher approach to net neutrality -- other outlets want reforms, too. A trio of regulatory filings reveal that representatives from Bank of America, Ford, UPS and Visa spoke to FCC commissioners multiple times this year to press for stricter net neutrality under the banner of an advocacy group, the Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee. The companies tell Bloomberg Businessweek that they weren't taking particular stances on the issue, and were only concerned about getting their customers a "fast and reliable connection," as Ford puts it. However, the filings suggest otherwise -- the Ad Hoc members gave the FCC material explicitly asking for the internet to be reclassified as a public utility, as the President wants. So why the he-said-she-said discrepancy?

Simply put, the companies want to avoid the scorn of their telecom partners. Internet outfits like Netflix have nothing to lose by arguing for net neutrality in public, but bank and vehicle makers just might; they'd rather not put a big deal into jeopardy by voicing their opinion. A group like Ad Hoc lets these corporations argue for a neutral internet (which they say protects against internet providers double-dipping on access fees) without officially linking themselves to the cause. You won't see them running pro-neutrality ads or testifying in hearings, then, but it's clear that support for fairer internet regulation extends well beyond Silicon Valley.

[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]

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