Following the digital transition, issues with the reception of some television stations have highlighted the need for the use of outdoor antennas to receive the digital signal. Last week, in three FCC decisions, the Commission made clear that its Over-the-Air Reception Device rules (the "OTARD rules") prohibit most zoning and other land-use restrictions, both governmental and private, on the use of such antennas. These rules were adopted as a result of Congressional actions, and prohibit many restrictions on the installation and use of antennas used to receive television and other video signals either on private property owned by the user of the antenna or on property leased by the user. Stations should become familiar with these rules, and let their viewers know of the rules, so that they can use them if they have problems installing antennas to receive the new digital signals over the air.
The rules apply to antennas that are one meter or less in diameter, or any size in Alaska, and are designed to receive or transmit direct broadcast satellite services, or one meter or less in diagonal measurement and are designed to receive or transmit video programming services through multipoint distribution services, including multichannel multipoint distribution services, instructional television fixed services, and local multipoint distribution services; and antennas designed to receive television broadcast signals. For the 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.