While all the major online companies you'd expect to be in favour of net neutrality have indeed been fighting the good fight since the beginning, America's other big companies have (mostly) been sitting on the sidelines trying not to piss anyone off. However, behind the scenes, it turns out that a surprising group of corporate giants have secretly been petitioning the FCC.

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According to a report in Businessweek, a corporate advocacy group called the Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee has paid a few visits to the FCC already this year, with the topic up for discussion "protecting and promoting the open internet". Although the membership of the group isn't public, Businessweek discovered that the visits to the FCC were accompanied by corporate reps from UPS, Bank of America, Visa and Ford.

Moreover, these visits weren't making vague statements of support for net neutrality in the same way that Comcast supports net neutrality: FCC filings reveal that in these secretive meetings, Ad Hoc Telecom (and the corporate reps) was arguing for full Title II classification and regulation of the internet. That position is reinforced by the fact that Ad Hoc Telecom filed public comment with the FCC this summer, urging it to consider Title II classification.

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Unfortunately, while these corporations might be fighting for net neutrality behind the scenes, they're steadfastly refusing to come out publicly for Title II. When contacted by Businessweek, they refused to take sides, with Visa saying it isn't "pushing a particular point of view on net neutrality".

While it's a little disappointing that these corporations don't have the courage to take a public stance against Comcast and its spokespeople, it's at least encouraging that non-internet-related firms like UPS recognise the value to everyone of having a functioning, democratic internet. [Businessweek]