WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), 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 multipoint distribution service or MMDS), and television broadcast stations ("TVBS"); and
WHEREAS, The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association (“SBCA”) 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; and
WHEREAS, SBCA petitioned the FCC on November 22, 2011 to have Philadelphia's satellite dish placement ordinance declared unlawful and made similar claims against Chicago and Boston ordinances in the spring and early summer of 2012; and
WHEREAS, the FCC stayed the enforcement of the Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston ordinances pending their review of each cities’ laws, but today more than eighteen months later the FCC has failed to act on any of these complaints and in fact has not even placed the Chicago and Boston challenges on public notice; and
WHEREAS, the length of the stay of lawful local government action in three of the country’s largest cities, without any legal justification other than the filing of a complaint, is inappropriate, and the effect is inconsistent with the intent and language of the OTARD rule itself,
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 and calls on the FCC to act on the pending complaints against Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Commission should find that the OTARD Rule does not preempt local zoning ordinances that ban the installation of OTARDs 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.
Projected Cost: Unknown