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Federal Communications Commission

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FAQS - Satellite

The FCC oversees policies, rules, procedures and standards for licensing and regulating satellite space and earth station facilities, both domestic and international.

Can I place my satellite dish anywhere on my property?
In general, a satellite dish that is 1 meter (39.37 inches) or less may be installed on an area that you own or where you have exclusive use. There are some restrictions that apply. For more information, please refer to our guide on Over-the-Air Reception Devices.

What is the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999?
The Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 ("SHVIA") significantly modifies the Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1988, the Communications Act and the U.S. Copyright Act. SHVIA is designed to promote competition among multichannel video programming distributors, such as satellite companies and cable television operators, while at the same time increasing the programming choices available to consumers.

How does SHVIA affect the programming that is available to persons who subscribe to satellite TV service?
SHVIA permits satellite companies to provide local broadcast TV signals to all subscribers who reside in the local TV station’s market (also referred to as a Designated Market Area ("DMA")), as defined by Nielsen Media Research. This ability to provide local broadcast channels is commonly referred to as "local into local" service. SHVIA also permits satellite companies to provide "distant" network broadcast stations to eligible satellite subscribers.

Must a satellite company provide local channels to any subscriber who wants the channels?
No. The satellite company has the option of providing local-into-local service, but is not required to do so. Some satellite companies are already providing this service in selected markets. Subscribers should contact their satellite company to determine whether and when the service will be available in their specific DMA and which DMA applies to them.

More consumer information on satellite issues.

Reviewed: September 29, 2014

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