The FCC expands the rule for wi-fi receivers and prevents the Chicago regulation that restricts the location of satellite tv for pc dish antennas

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued two ordinances relating to their Over-the-Air Receivers (OTARD) rule, which protects the ability of antenna users to install and use wireless receivers to receive Internet access services. local television signals and video programming.1 First, the FCC expanded the scope of the OTARD rule to include certain hub and relay antennas that were previously excluded because they could be used to transmit signals to multiple customer locations.2 Second, the FCC has one from the city Revoked Chicago ordinance that restricted the placement of satellite antenna dishes to locations not visible from any street adjacent to the property.3 These ordinances are relevant to private entities such as home builders and homeowners associations who may have an interest in them to limit the placement of antennas.

OTARD rule

The OTARD Rule prohibits governmental and non-governmental restrictions that affect the installation, maintenance, or use of antennas on the property, under the exclusive use or control of the antenna user if the user has direct or indirect ownership or a lease interest in the property . 4 State restrictions include state and local laws and regulations such as zoning, land use, and building codes. Non-governmental restrictions include private agreements, contract terms, and homeowner association rules. The types of antennas covered by the OTARD rule include: (1) antennas no greater than one meter in diameter, or diagonal measurement, used to receive video programming services; (2) antennas for receiving local television signals; and (3) antennas designed to receive fixed wireless or broadband Internet signals. Restricting the use of an antenna is in breach of the OTARD Rule if it: (1) inappropriately delays or prevents installation, maintenance, or use; (2) inappropriately increases the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) precludes receiving or transmitting a signal of acceptable quality. 5

Extension of the applicability of the OTARD rule to hubs and relay stations

The FCC’s position on the applicability of the OTARD rule to hub or relay antennas used to send and / or receive signals from multiple customer locations has evolved over the past 20 years. Since 2004, the FCC has designed its OTARD rule to protect systems that serve a customer in a building and forward signals to other customers. However, this does not apply to facilities designed primarily as hubs for the distribution of services.6 In 2019 the FCC issued a notice of the proposed rulemaking requesting an opinion on a proposed change to the OTARD rule was asked to extend its scope to include wireless fixed line equipment, which mainly function as hub and relay antennas but do not provide telecommunications services.7 The purpose of the proposed change is to encourage the development of 5G broadband networks based on smaller antennas that are closer to the customer (as opposed to the larger antennas, which are distributed over greater distances and traditionally used to build networks).

In the OTARD Regulation of January 7, 2021, the FCC changed its OTARD rule to apply to all hub and relay antennas used to distribute fixed wireless services to multiple customer locations, provided that (1) the antenna is a customer served locally where it is located and (2) the service provided by the antenna is broadband only. The FCC stated that the extension of the OTARD rule will facilitate the rapid deployment of wireless fixed networks for 5G and high-speed internet services. The changed OTARD rule does not affect existing roof antenna rentals between a building owner and a fixed cell phone provider, unless the building owner is a customer of the provider. If the building owner is a customer of the landline operator, the OTARD Rule protects the building owner / customer leasing from governmental or non-governmental restrictions on antenna placement.

Exemption from the Chicago Ordinance on Restricting Satellite Dish Dish Placement

In response to a petition for a declaratory decision by satellite carriers and a trade association representing the consumer satellite industry, the FCC’s media bureau rejected an ordinance from the city of Chicago on the grounds that the ordinance, in violation of the OTARD rule, affects the ability of antenna users to use Installation, maintenance or use of wireless receivers. The Chicago ordinance at issue limited the placement of satellite antennas in locations that are not visible from any street adjacent to the property on which the device is located (although a device is placed entirely on a balcony or terrace under the sole control of the user could be). . The regulation provided for an exception if compliance was technically not feasible (i.e. compliance would result in a significant delay or decrease in signal reception or additional significant additional costs for the user) and the installer provided the user with appropriate certification. If the installer submitted certification, the satellite antenna could be placed in locations that were “minimally visible” from the street adjacent to the property (e.g. using landscaping, fencing and architectural features of the property to shield the antenna from view) . The Chicago ordinance also stipulated that satellite antennas and associated equipment must be removed when they are no longer in use.

In the Chicago Declaratory Ruling, the Media Bureau noted that the OTARD rule only allows restrictions on the placement of wireless receiving devices if there is a security or historical preservation reason for the restrictions, and that the City of Chicago has not made increases in such justifications its regulation. The media bureau found that the placement requirements (ie, not visible from an adjacent property) violated the OTARD Rule by prohibiting the placement of satellite antenna dishes in areas that are under the exclusive control of the antenna user. In addition, the media office came to the conclusion that the “technically unworkable” exception to the regulation’s placement restrictions was more burdensome than the standard of the OTARD rule. The certification requirement was also found to be unenforceable as it would impose unreasonable delays and costs on the satellite dish user. The requirement to shield satellite dishes from view also violated the OTARD rule as there were no exceptions for situations where the installation or use of the antenna would be compromised. Eventually, the media bureau concluded that the requirement to remove satellite dish dishes that are no longer in service was vague as it did not identify who was responsible for determining the service status or removing the equipment.

The Media Bureau’s decision to prevent the Chicago ordinance is in line with its 2018 decision to prevent a similar ordinance from the City of Philadelphia.8 These decisions show that the FCC is restricting customers’ ability to install and use antennas We carefully examine communication services that fall under the OTARD rule. In addition, the FCC’s expansion of the OTARD rule to include antennas for receiving fixed wireless broadband services underscores the FCC’s commitment to facilitate the provision of 5G networks.

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