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5/23/2012 2:41:45 PM
FiberSlasher Member #: 4750 Registered: 1996-2001
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Potential New Restrictions on Placement of HD Ante

http://www.cepro.com/article/potential_new_restrictions_on_placement_of_hd_antennae_satellite_dishes/

Potential New Restrictions on Placement of HD Ante

Calling local ordinances "disastrous," the SBCA, Dish Network and DirecTV jointly petition FCC for clarification of rule that permits local municipalities to restrict placement of satellite dishes and HD antennae in MDUs.

Be sure to check the local laws before you mount an HD antenna and satellite dish these days, especially in a multidwelling unit (MDU).

The FCC statute intended to protect the rights of renters to mount a satellite dish anywhere they want on a home, condo or apartment apparently contains a gaping loophole that can allow local municipalities or states to create restrictions on where dishes can be placed.

The city of Philadelphia has apparently recognized the loophole and instituted a law that prohibits street-facing mounts. So while an integrator in the area is protected federally (as well as protected from any HOA rules) from placing a satellite dish or antenna wherever is necessary for the best reception under the Over-the-Air Reception Devices (OTARD) rule, he may still be violating the city ordinance. 

That loophole is the reason the Satellite Broadcast and Communications Association (SBCA), DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) all jointly filed a petition to the FCCto clarify the rule so it covers all levels of authority.

OTARD was initially instituted in 1996 to generally prohibit property restrictions on the placement of direct broadcast satellites (DBSs). In 1999, the rule was extended to protect renters from restrictions by landlords. Later, in 2001, the law was extended to leased properties. At the time, local restrictions were cropping up that prevented placement on balcony railings, facing the street, etc. However, OTARD rules still allow landlords of rental properties and multi-dwelling buildings to restrict the placement of antennas and dishes in "common areas," such as the roof or an exterior wall. 

The April 18 petition to the FCC notes: "In interpreting the statute to protect the prerogatives of property owners against federal regulation, however, the Commission left unanswered questions about the statute's scope when state and local governments-not property owners-seek to regulate reception devices."

The petition continues, pleading: "The Commission should consider this issue now, however, because at least one city has taken the position that the OTARD rules do not prevent the imposition of quite literally any governmental antenna regulation with respect to non-exclusive areas. Were other cities to take such a cramped view of the Commission's rules, the resulting ordinances would have disastrous results for competition in a video marketplace that has problems enough as it is."

The FCC has the petition open for comment until June 7.
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