” With the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to move forward with a controversial proposal that threatens net neutrality and the open Internet, lobbying activity looks like it has reached a fevered pitch. But for the companies involved—especially the telecom companies that are eager to be allowed to charge more for a “fast lane” of Internet service—lobbying has been at a fevered pitch for almost a decade.
Going back to 2005 (when the phrase “net neutrality” first shows up in lobbying disclosure reports), the principle’s biggest opponents (Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and their allies) have lobbied against net neutrality about three times as hard as the biggest proponents of neutrality (Level 3, Google, Microsoft and their allies).
To better understand the lobbying dynamics around net neutrality, we took the long view and tallied up the 20 lobbying organizations that mentioned “net neutrality” or “network neutrality” most often in their lobbying reports between 2005 and 2013. In the top 20, we found an even split: 10 pro-neutrality organizations and 10 anti-neutrality organizations. But when it came to intensity, the lobbying was far from balanced. The top pro-neutrality organizations filed 176 lobbying reports mentioning net neutrality. But the top anti-neutrality organizations far outpaced them, filing 472 reports that mentioned net neutrality. That’s a 2.7-to-1 ratio.”