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UPDATE: AT&T, Verizon ramped up lobbying in Q1

UPDATE at 2:35 p.m.: with new percentage increase for AT&T. Its spending rose 15 percent, not 75 percent.
UPDATE: at 3:38 p.m: with new percentage decrease for Verizon. Its spending fell 4 percent. It didn't rise, as previously stated. The confusion stemmed from a new procedure at Verizon and Verizon Wireless to consolidate its lobbying reports.

AT&T and Verizon Communications opened a firehose of spending for lobbying in the first quarter to push their positions on net neutrality, the national broadband plan and a range of consumer-related issues including early termination fees and exclusive handset deals.

AT&T spent $5.93 million to lobby lawmakers and federal regulators in the first quarter, an increase of 15 percent from the same period last year. Verizon Communications spent $4.72 million in the first quarter, down 4 percent from the previous year, when it spent $4.92 million. This year, Verizon Communications and Verizon Wireless consolidated its lobbying report.

Comcast spent $3.07 million to make its case against new net neutrality rules, but also to promote its proposed merger with NBC Universal to lawmakers and regulators who are reviewing the deal. That figure was down from the fourth quarter of 2009, when it spent $3.48 milion, but up from $2.76 million a year earlier.

AT&T and Verizon’s spending far outpaced that of other well-known tech companies, including Google, which spent $1.38 million in the same quarter. Microsoft spent $1.72 million during the first quarter and Facebook spent $41,000.

It was a busy quarter for both AT&T and Verizon. AT&T, for example, lobbied on about 50 telecommunications-related issues.

Specifically, AT&T and Verizon pushed their positions with regulators and lawmakers on bills and proposed rules related to net neutrality – which both companies oppose. In the first quarter, the FCC released its national broadband plan, which contained more than five dozen policy proposals. The telecom giants opposed proposals such as line sharing for small businesses but pushed for more federal spectrum to be allocated for mobile broadband.

Analysts expect the telecom and cable giants will continue to ramp up lobbying efforts for the rest of the year as the FCC deals with questions over a reclassification of broadband services – another idea the companies oppose. They have also increased their efforts at the FCC on specific policies related to the national broadband plan.

By Cecilia Kang  |  April 21, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  AT&T , Broadband , Comcast , Consumers , Early Termination Fees , FCC , FTC , Facebook , Google , Microsoft , Net Neutrality , Verizon  
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Next: NYT: Economists balk at FCC's net neutrality plans

Comments

As usual, Cecilia Kang spreads misinformation on behalf of Google, attempting to make her patron look like David fighting Goliath. The fact is that Google focuses its money on "astroturf" lobbying, which is not required to be reported. Free Press, Public Knowledge, Media Access Project, and the New America Foundation are all groups which claim to be independent but are actually lobbying arms of Google in DC. Google also has full time lobbyists, such as Andrew McLaughlin, within the Administration itself! But Ms. Kang obviously won't report on this as well, because she is a direct beneficiary of Google (which places ads on this blog).

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 21, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

it's obsene the amount of money these oligopolies will spend lobbying, to protect their non-competitive markets!

Posted by: Hattrik | April 21, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

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