Google’s Record Spend To Keep Net Neutral

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Google has spent a record amount on Washington lobbyists as it pushes to maintain net neutrality.

The search and advertising giant spent $16.8m (£11m) in 2014 – the most it has ever shelled out on DC influencers.

Some US telecoms companies are pushing to get rid of net neutrality, which is the legal principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally.

Abolishing it would allow them to charge extra for internet "fast lanes", or restrict the use of high-bandwidth sites and services such as Netflix.

It would likely hit Google's bottom line – as it relies on masses of users to sell advertising.

The $16.8m spend is a 20% year-on-year increase and the most the company has ever spent on influencing politicians.

Analysis by advocacy group Consumer Watchdog found that the 15 technology companies it monitors spent a combined $116.6m (£76.9m) in 2014 – a slight drop on the previous year's total of $120.3m (£79.3m).

But while Google is spending more than ever to influence debate, telecoms companies are also spending big.

AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon spent a combined $53.4m (£35.2m) on lobbying efforts.

Consumer Watch director John Simpson said: "It's important to understand just how much money these companies are throwing around in Washington to buy the policies they want.

"Policymaking is now all about big bucks, not big ideas."

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