FCC Issues New Ruling Confirming OTARD Limitations on Rules Applicable to Satellite Dish Installations in Utah HOAs.
On April 18, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Declaratory Ruling that reiterates the limitations on controls private and public entities can impose on the installation of satellite dishes and antennas. The FCC struck down a Philadelphia ordinance that attempted to impose limitations on the installation of satellite dishes on the front of homes and buildings. In its ruling, the FCC reiterated many well established principles from its Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule, 47 C.F.R. § 1.4000, the (“OTARD Rule"). These principles apply directly in condominiums, townhomes, PUDs, and other community associations. In short, the OTARD Rule applies to direct broadcast satellite antennas that are one meter or less in diameter or diagonal measurement (except in Alaska) and are designed to receive or transmit video programming services through multipoint distribution services. The OTARD Rule also applies to antennas used to receive fixed wireless or broadband Internet signals. For the OTARD Rule to apply, the antenna must be installed “on property within the exclusive use or control of the antenna user where the user has a direct or indirect ownership or leasehold interest in the property” upon which the antenna is located. The OTARD Rule does not apply to restrictions on installations in common areas or elements. It provides that a restriction impairs installation, maintenance, or use of a protected antenna if it: (1) unreasonably delays or prevents installation, maintenance, or use; (2) unreasonably increases the cost of installation, maintenance, or use; or (3) precludes reception of an acceptable quality signal. There are exceptions to the rule for restrictions necessary to address clearly defined, legitimate safety or historic preservation issues, provided such restrictions are as narrowly tailored as possible, impose as little burden as necessary to achieve the foregoing objectives, and apply in a nondiscriminatory manner throughout the regulated area.
If you are unsure whether the OTARD Rule is implicated in a rule governing satellite dish installations in a Utah condominium association, townhome, PUD, or other community association, contact the HOA attorneys at Morris Sperry for advice. The Morris Sperry HOA law firm stays current on the law and has the best HOA lawyers in Utah to help you with these issues.