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02
March
2012

OTARD

The purpose of the OTARD rule is to prohibit owners or managers of MDU properties from restricting a resident’s ability to install an individual dish antenna on his/her balcony, thus encouraging competition in MVPD markets from satellite television providers.

The FCC’s Over-the-Air-Reception-Device (OTARD) rule is set forth in 47 C.F.R. § 1.4000. The OTARD Rule was promulgated pursuant to section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which provides, “the Commission shall … promulgate regulations to prohibit restrictions that impair a view’s ability to receive video programming services through devices designed for over-the-air reception of television broadcast signals, multichannel multipoint distribution service, or direct broadcast satellite services.”  47 U.S.C. § 207.

The OTARD rule preempts,

                  … [a]ny restriction, including but not limited to any state or 
                  local law or regulation, including zoning, land-use, or building 
                  regulations, or any private covenant, contract provision, lease 
                  provision, homeowners' association rule or similar restriction, 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 that impairs the installation, maintenance, or use of:
 
                      (i) An antenna that is:
 
                      (A) Used to receive direct broadcast satellite service, including 
                  direct-to-home satellite service, or to receive or transmit fixed wireless signals via satellite …

There are certain very limited exceptions to OTARD’s prohibitions, which exceptions are narrowly construed by the FCC.

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