FCC RULE - Pertaining to Satellite Dishes and Antennas

Resource Topic: 
Statutes
Federal

(As adopted October 12, 2000)

§ 1.4000.  Restrictions impairing reception of television broadcast signals, direct broadcast satellite services, or multi-channel multipoint distribution services and restrictions impairing reception or transmission of fixed wireless communications signals.

(a)    (1)      Any 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 (1) used to receive direct broadcast satellite service, including direct-to-home satellite services, or to receive or transmit fixed wireless signals via satellite, and (2)  one meter or less in diameter or is located in Alaska;

(ii)    An antenna that is (1) used to receive video programming services via multipoint distribution services, including multi-channel multipoint distribution services, instructional television fixed services, and local multipoint distribution services, or to receive or transmit fixed wireless signals other than via satellite, and (2) that is one meter or less in diameter or diagonal measurement;

(iii)    An antenna that is designed to receive television broadcast signals; or

(iv)    A mast supporting an antenna described in paragraphs (a)(1)(i), (a)(1)(ii) or (a)(1)(iii) of this section; is prohibited, to the extent it so impairs, subject to paragraph (b) of this section. 

(2)     For purposes of this section, “fixed wireless signals” means any commercial non-broadcast communications signals transmitted via wireless technology to and/or from a fixed customer location.  Fixed wireless signals do not include, among other things, AM radio, FM radio, amateur (“HAM”) radio, Citizen’s Band (CB) radio, and Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS) signals.

(3)     For purposes of this section, a law, regulation or restriction impairs installation, maintenance or use of antenna if it:    

(i)     Unreasonably delays or prevents installation, maintenance or use;

(ii)    Unreasonably increases the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or

(iii)    Precludes reception or transmission of an acceptable quality signal.

(4)       Any fee or cost imposed on a user by a rule, law, regulation or restriction must be reasonable in light of the cost of the equipment or services and the rule, law, regulation or restriction’s treatment of comparable devices. No civil, criminal, administrative, or other legal action of any kind shall be taken to enforce any restriction or regulation prohibited by this section except pursuant to paragraph (d) or (e) of this section. In addition, except with respect to restrictions pertaining to safety and historic preservation as described in paragraph (b) of this section, if a proceeding is initiated pursuant to paragraph (d) or (e) of this section, the entity seeking to enforce the antenna restrictions in question must suspend all enforcement efforts pending completion of review.  No attorney’s fees shall be collected or assessed and no fine or other penalties shall accrue against an antenna user while a proceeding is pending to determine the validity of any restriction.  If a ruling is issued adverse to a user, the user shall be granted at least a 21-day grace period in which to comply with the adverse ruling; and neither a fine nor a penalty may be collected from the user if the user complies with the adverse ruling during this grace period, unless the proponent of the restriction demonstrates, in the same proceeding which resulted in the adverse ruling, that the user’s claim in the proceeding was frivolous.

(b)    Any restriction otherwise prohibited by paragraph (a) of this section is permitted if:

(1)     It is necessary to accomplish a clearly defined, legitimate safety objective that is either stated in the text, preamble or legislative history of the restriction or described as applying to that restriction in a document that is readily available to antenna users, and would be applied to the extent practicable in a non-discriminatory manner to other appurtenances, devices, or fixtures that are comparable in size and weight and pose a similar or greater safety risk as these antennas and to which local regulation would normally apply; or

(2)     It is necessary to preserve a prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure or object included in, or eligible for inclusion on, the National Register of Historic Places, as set forth in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, 16 U.S.C. § 470, and imposes no greater restrictions on antennas covered by this rule than are imposed on the installation, maintenance or use of other modern appurtenances, devices or fixtures that are comparable in size, weight, and appearance to these antennas; and

(3)     It is no more burdensome to affected antenna users than is necessary to achieve the objectives described in paragraph (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section.

(c)    In the case of an antenna that is used to transmit fixed wireless signals, the provisions of this section shall apply only if a label is affixed to the antenna that (1) provides adequate notice regarding potential radiofrequency safety hazards, e.g. information regarding the safe minimum separation distance required between users and transceiver antennas; and (2) references the applicable FCC-adopted limits for radiofrequency exposure specified in   § 1.1310 f this chapter.  

(d)    Local governments or associations may apply to the Commission for a waiver of this section under § 1.3.  Waiver requests must comply with the procedures in paragraphs (f) and (h) of this section and will be put on public notice.  The Commission may grant a waiver upon a showing by the applicant of local concerns of a highly specialized or unusual nature.  No petition for waiver shall be considered unless it specifies the restriction at issue.  Waivers granted in accordance with this section shall not apply to restrictions amended or enacted after the waiver is granted.  Any responsive pleadings must be served on all parties and filed within 30 days after release of a public notice that such petition has been filed.  Any replies must be filed within 15 days thereafter.

(e)    Parties may petition the Commission for a declaratory ruling under § 1.2., or a court of  competent jurisdiction, to determine whether a particular restriction is permissible or prohibited under this section.  Petitions to the Commission must comply with the procedures in paragraphs (f) and (h) of this section and will be put on public notice.  Any responsive pleading in a Commission proceeding must be served on all parties and filed within 30 days after release of a public notice that such petition has been filed.  Any replies in a Commission proceeding must be served on all parties and filed within 15 days thereafter.

(f)    Copies of petitions for declaratory rulings and waivers must be served on interested parties, including parties against whom the petitioner seeks to enforce the restriction or parties whose restrictions the petitioner seeks to prohibit.  A certificate of service stating on whom the petition was served must be filed with the petition.  In addition, in a Commission proceeding brought by an association or a local government, constructive notice of the proceeding must be given to members of the association or to the citizens under the local government’s jurisdiction.  In a court proceeding brought by an association, an association must give constructive notice of the proceeding to its members.  Where constructive notice is required, the petitioner or plaintiff must file with the Commission or the court overseeing the proceeding a copy of the constructive notice with a statement explaining where the notice was placed and why such placement was reasonable.

(g)    In any proceeding regarding the scope or interpretation of any provision of this section, the burden of demonstrating that a particular governmental or nongovernmental restriction complies with this section and does not impair the installation, maintenance, or use of devices used for over-the-air reception of video programming services or devices used to receive or transmit fixed wireless signals shall be on the party that seeks to impose or maintain the restriction.

(h)    All allegations of fact contained in petitions and related pleadings before the Commission must be supported by affidavit of a person or persons with actual knowledge thereof.  An original and two copies of all petitions and pleadings should be addressed to the  Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.   Copies of the petitions and related pleadings will be available for public inspection in the Reference Information Center, Consumer Information Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.  Copies will be available for purchase from the Commission’s contract copy center, and Commission decisions will be available on the Internet.