Dem senator joins net neutrality protest

One Democratic senator is joining Netflix, Reddit and other websites in protest against the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposed rules for the Internet.

Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE (D-Mass.) has called for the FCC to take the bold step of imposing utility-style regulations on Internet service providers. He is holding a banner on his website on Wednesday to protest online “slow lanes” that he fears could emerge as a result of the FCC's plan.

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“If there were Internet fast & slow lanes you’d still be waiting,” the banner on the senator’s website said. “Protect #NetNeutrality & Internet Freedom.”

During Wednesday’s “Internet Slowdown” protest, sites will feature similar messages to raise concern. They say the plan from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler could allow for companies to cut deals to make “fast lanes” for users at some websites, leaving slower service for everyone else. 

The protest is being organized by advocacy groups including Demand Progress and Free Press Action Fund. The American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Etsy and others are also taking part.

“Today, I stand in solidarity with the ‘net-izens’ of the world to show what the Internet would look like with fast and slow lanes,” Markey said in a statement.

“An open Internet enables freedom of expression and the sharing of ideas across town or across the globe,” he added. “That openness is at stake if the FCC allows broadband behemoths to play traffic cop, discriminating against some, while letting those who can afford to sail on by.”

The FCC is currently accepting public comments on its proposal, and the public response is close to becoming the largest the FCC has ever seen. The second round of comments closes on Sept. 15.