WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission, as directed by Congress in Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, adopted the Over-the-Air Reception Devices (OTARD) Rule to prohibit governmental and nongovernmental restrictions on a viewers' ability to receive video programming signals from direct broadcast satellites (DBS), broadband radio service providers (formerly multichannel multi-point distribution service or MMDS), and television broadcast stations (TVBS); and
WHEREAS, The OTARD Rule (47 C.F.R. Section 1.4000) applies to video antennas including direct-to-home satellite dishes that are less than one meter (39.37") in diameter (or of any size in Alaska), TV antennas, and wireless cable antennas and prohibits most governmental and nongovernmental restrictions that: (1) unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use; (2) unreasonably increase the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal; and
WHEREAS, in 1999, the Commission amended the rule to extend its protections to rental property so long as the renter had an exclusive use area, such as a balcony or patio, in which to deploy an OTARD; and
WHEREAS, The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association (SBCA) has filed a Petition for Rulemaking seeking to amend the exclusive use provision of the OTARD Rule to empower only property owners or homeowners’ associations to restrict reception devices to areas under user’s exclusive control and bar any such restrictions imposed by state or local governments.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on the FCC to reject the SBCA’s petition to amend the OTARD Rule. The FCC’s direction from Congress was to bar enforcement only when a restriction violates the OTARD Rule, not dependent on whether the source of the restriction is a homeowners’ association or a municipal zoning regulation. Prohibition on municipal regulation would force every homeowners’ association and every apartment owner in the country to enact its own satellite dish placement rules. This would likely lead to greater confusion regarding the deployment of over the air devices, not less.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Commission should find that the OTARD Rule does not preempt local zoning ordinances that require OTARDs not be deployed on the front façade of a building when an alternative location can be employed that does not delay installation, unreasonably burden the user, nor materially degrade the quality of a signal.