Google has emerged as one of the chief proponents of net neutrality after it emerged that the search and advertising firm has been dipping into its deep pockets to the tune of £11m ($16.8m) in an effort to persuade Washington to preserve the concept of equal access to the internet for all users.
It comes as internet service providers seek permission to charge high volume users who use online streaming services such as Netflix more owing to the increased cost of providing higher bandwidths.
Google would be one of the main losers in any such change as it needs high volumes of users to sell its advertising, prompting it to open the purse strings to its highest ever spend on lobbyists.
Analysis of big business spending patterns in the corridors of power found that 15 technology firms had spent a combined £76.9m persuading politicians to maintain the status quo last year, although this was offset to the tune of £35.2m by the likes of AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon – all of whom champion change.
Consumer Watch director John Simpson, which carried out the research, 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."