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SBCA Seeks FCC Help With Philly Dish Restriction

The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association wants the FCC to tell the City of Brotherly Love that it needs to work up a little more of that love for satellite dishes.

SBCA said Tuesday it had petitioned the FCC for a declaratory ruling that the city's ordinance restricting the installation of satellite dishes is out of bounds, calling it "among the most overbroad regulations of satellite dishes in history."

According to the petition, under the new city ordinance, residents of single-family homes can't put a dish in their yards - specifically "between the facades of their homes and the street" -- even on balconies or patios and no matter how expensive the alternative. Multifamily homes at least get to put them on patios and balconies. And if there is no alternative, says the city, the dish must be registered with the city and painted in a color "deemed acceptable by the City," said SBCA.

"We are hopeful that the FCC will support our petition and declare Philadelphia's ordinance a violation, setting the way for satellite television's continued competition against cable in the video services market in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania," said SBCA public policy director Lisa McCabe in a statement, "and setting valuable precedent across the country."

SBCA wants the FCC to rule that the ordinance violates its Over-the-Air Reception Devices ("OTARD") rule, which "prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.