New regs for Monday: open Internet, hearths, Syrian sanctions

Monday’s edition of the Federal Register contain news rules from the Federal Communications Commission to keep an open Internet, more time from the Energy Department to comment on conservation standards for hearth products and amendments to sanctions against Syria.

Here’s a look at what’s to come.

Open Internet: The Federal Communications Commission is moving forward with rules to protect and promote an open Internet.

The rules prohibit blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of the Internet, and prevent broadband providers from unreasonably interfering or disadvantaging consumers or edge providers from reaching one another on the Internet.

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Because the Internet drives the American economy and serves, every day, as a critical tool for America’s citizens to conduct commerce, communicate, educate, entertain, and engage in the world around them, the FCC said, it must remain open.

According to the rule-making, 2010 was the first year the majority of Netflix users switched from DVDs to streaming videos online. Today, the FCC said the on-demand video and TV service sends the most peak downstream traffic in North America of any company. Other services have also experienced growth in recent years. Etsy, an e-commerce website that caters to handmade and vintage items, reported it’s grown from $314 million in merchandise sales in 2010 to $1.35 billion in merchandise sales in 2013.

“The lesson of this period, and the overwhelming consensus on the record, is that carefully-tailored rules to protect Internet openness will allow investment and innovation to continue to flourish,” FCC said in its rule-making.

The rules will take effect in 60 days.

Fireplaces: The Energy Department is delaying its rules for gas-fired hearth products. The agency has decided to extend the public comment period by 30 days to May 11 to give the public additional time to comment following a request from RH Peterson Co.

The proposed rule would set energy conservation standards for hearth products, which includes any gas-fired appliance that simulates a solid-fueled fireplace or presents a flame pattern for aesthetics or other purposes and may provide heat to the space in which it is installed. 

The proposed rule would apply to hearth products manufactured in and exported to the U.S. five years after the final rule is published in the Federal Register.

Syrian sanctions: The Department of Treasury is moving forward with a rule that would allow Syria to obtain a general license to publish and market certain manuscripts, books, journals and newspapers in paper and electric format.

The rule amends the Syrian Sanctions Regulations that the Office of Foreign Assets Control issued in April 2005.

The rule will take effect immediately.

Bird hunting: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a rule that would establish annual regulations for certain migratory game birds for the 2015-2016 hunting season.

The rule-making applies to ducks, sea ducks, mergansers, Canadian geese, white-fronted geese, brant, snow and Ross’s geese, swans, sandhill cranes, coots, moorhens and gallinules, rails, snipe, woodcock, band-tailed pigeons, doves and falconry.

The public has until June 26 to comment on the duck hunting season.