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ISP's surprise net neutrality fans on protest day

NEW YORK (AP) - AT&T has a surprise for tech firms and internet activists supporting net neutrality, the principle that bars internet service providers from playing favorites with websites and apps.

Although AT&T has fiercely fought the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality rules, it's backing Wednesday's "day of action" denouncing AT&T and other ISPs.

Of course, AT&T doesn't actually agree with the aim of the protest  to support the 2015 regulation that the FCC wants to overturn now that Republicans are in charge.

AT&T says it supports an "open internet" and believes companies shouldn't block web content or slow down videos from other providers. Rather, AT&T says it merely opposes the FCC rules that set it in place. Comcast and Verizon joined AT&T in making that distinction. ISPs don't like the FCC's approach because it treats internet service as a utility and comes with more oversight. They worry about price regulation and say the rules hurt broadband investment.

Tim Karr, the campaign director for Free Press, an advocacy group that supports net neutrality, slammed the ISPs for "simply attempting to fake the funk, pretending to support net neutrality while opposing the (FCC) rules that make it an enforceable reality."

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