Sen. Markey: Feb. 26 to Be Internet Innovation Freedom Day

Joins With 'Net Activists to Celebrate Upcoming FCC Vote

Title II fan Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) got together with net neutrality activists to celebrate the anticipated Federal Communications Commission vote to reclassify Internet access as a telecommunications service under some common-carrier regulations and warned that ISPs and others would pull out all the stops to discredit that effort.

In a conference call with reporters, Markey praised Free Press, former FCC chairman Michael Copps, Public Knowledge and others with being digital Paul Reveres: "You have called us to arms, you have sounded the alarm. You have taken to the 'Net and to the streets in order to advocate for this new set of rules being put on the books."

Markey said that not only was this revolution televised, but it was "streamed and tweeted and snapped and shared around the world."

He said the FCC had gotten the message that keeping the Internet open was as important as keeping the air and water clean and the highways safe.

Markey said network neutrality activists on Feb. 26 would be able to declare their greatest victory. He said that date would be christened "Internet Innovation Freedom Day" and added that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and the agency would be on "the right side of history."

Reclassifying ISPs would be a major victory for consumers, free expression and the economy, Markey said.

Copps, who was also on the call, said the Title II vote would take the FCC full circle from what he said may have been the worst vote in its history -- the 2002 decision to classify broadband as an information service, a vote he dissented from as a commissioner:

"Thanks to chairman Wheeler and what looks to be an FCC majority, the FCC will write a costly wrong," Copps said. "This is a huge win."

Copps said he felt confident the FCC's Feb. 26 decision would stand.

Craig Aaron, president of Free Press, said the Feb. 26 vote "may be the most important victory for the public interest in the agency's history."

But he warned that ISPs and their allies would take aim at the decision. "We know in the days ahead, there will be lies, there will be damn lies, and there will be whatever Ajit Pai is saying, and you should not believe it," Aaron said, adding that his opponents know Title II is the strongest approach, which is why they oppose it and "are trying to paint this overwhelmingly popular decision as some kind of 'broadbandgazi,'" a characterization that he called "a joke."

Aaron said opponents of network neutrality (which he was equating with opposition to Title II) should be concerned about being on the wrong side of the Internet and of history.