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Satellite Antennas

Generally, users may install a satellite dish that is 1 meter (39.37 inches) or less on their own property or property on which they have the exclusive use, such as leased or rented property. In Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress adopted the Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule. This rule applies to governmental and non-governmental restrictions imposed on a consumer’s ability to receive video programming signals from direct broadcast satellites, wireless cable providers, and television broadcast stations. The rule outlaws restrictions intended to prevent a consumer from installing, maintaining, or using an antenna. The rule applies to a broad range of potential regulatory bodies, laws, or regulations:

  • building regulations
  • condominium or cooperative association restrictions
  • homeowner association rules
  • land-use regulations
  • lease restrictions
  • other restrictions on property within the exclusive use or control of the antenna user where the user has an ownership or lease-hold interest in the property
  • private covenants
  • Zoning regulations

There is a three-part test to determine whether a particular restriction is illegal under the rule. It must:

  1. unreasonably delay or prevent the use of the antenna
  2. unreasonably increases the cost of the antenna or service
  3. prevent a person from receiving or transmitting an acceptable quality signal

The rule does not prohibit restrictions based on legitimate safety concerns, nor does it prohibit restrictions intended to preserve designated or eligible historic or prehistoric properties. In such cases, the restriction must be no more burdensome than necessary to accomplish its safety or preservation purposes.

Inside Satellite Antennas