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· Charter Gold Club Member
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This week marks the 10th anniversary of OTARD.

The (FCC) regulations crafted for "Over the Air Reception Devices" (OTARD) allow consumers to install any antenna - including small satellite TV dishes - on their premises without fear of a backlash from local entities or the dreaded homeowner's association. The rules differ a bit between single-family homes and multi-dwelling units such as condos or town homes.

Nonetheless the rules helped the satellite TV business obtain more than 25 million subscribers during the past decade.

Only a handful of other rules and regulations have had a similar impact on satellite TV and its customers. DBS winning the right to deliver local TV channels to consumers is 1999 is one of them. Separate laws crafted in the 1980s legalizing the private reception of unscrambled satellite TV programming and allowing for third-party packaging and C-band user access of network signals also were key developments. And there's another biggie: The 1992 Cable Act that guarantees access to satellite-delivered cable programming services by alternative multichannel video providers, such as DBS operators.

To some, OTARD may seem like a small accomplishment. But that small feat had a tremendous impact on the industry as well as pay-TV competition. And those industry insiders behind the push, including Chuck Hewitt and the late, beloved Taylor Howard, both of whom in the 1990s led the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association, should win accolades for their OTARD efforts.

Others behind OTARD's success include Reps. John Dingell (Mich.), Rick Boucher (Va.), Ed Markey (Mass.) and Retired Congressman Billy Tauzin (La.). At the Federal Communications Commission there were Eloise Gore and Rosalee Chiara. And who can forget Buddy Davis, owner of Davis Antenna, who was an early advocate of satellite TV.

Says SBCA's executive director Patricia Sumler, "The OTARD Rule plays an instrumental role in helping protect the consumer's right to have options for television and these people helped to ensure the passage of this vital legislation."

When retailers sell the satellite TV package, installers put that small dish on the roof, and consumers watch television from a DBS provider they have OTARD to thank for the service.

www.SkyReport.com - used with permission
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