Do you have some unsightly satellite TV dishes on your property? Do residents
complain about unattractive satellite TV dishes their neighbors have installed?
There is something you can do about it! A single satellite TV dish can provide all
residents with superior satellite TV service, with hundreds of channels including
local, International, and HDTV programming. This can be distributed along
with high-speed Internet access to all residents. You might be thinking that this
must be expensive, but since services are purchased in bulk, it turns out to be
much less expensive for each unit owner. Beyond the services subscribed in bulk
for the community, residents have the flexibility to purchase additional premium
channels, and still end up paying far less than retail for these services.
Rise of High-speed Internet
Americans are insisting on high-speed Internet access. According to a recent
report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the number of American
homes that have high-speed Internet access, also known as broadband, has
jumped from 60 million in March 2005 to 84 million in March 2006 – a leap of
40%, with growth among senior citizens increasing 63% during this period. As of
March 2006, 42% of all American adults had a high-speed Internet connection.
The most prevalent type of high-speed Internet access is DSL (Digital Subscriber
Loop), which utilizes phone lines, and is used by 50%, followed by 41% who use
cable lines. The national average for these services is $32 per month for DSL and
$41 per month for cable. Use of a fixed wireless device, such as one that could
provide Internet access for an entire community, has doubled during this period
and represents most of the remainder of the high-speed Internet connections.
Satellite TV Dishes Proliferate
In addition to high-speed Internet access, Americans are interested in a broader
variety of TV channels and higher quality TV reception, including HDTV. Since
satellite TV provides a broader variety of programming than cable TV it has been
growing in popularity. The additional channels include more interactive
programming, such as Instant Weather reports by entered zip code, as well as
International channels. Satellite programming provides foreign language
broadcasts and broadcasts of sports events not covered by traditional TV
networks or cable TV, and also provides significantly more interactive and
HDTV programming. Satellite TV also uses a completely digital signal, which
provides better reception quality and allows for more extensive HDTV services.
In addition to these advantages, satellite TV also does not require a cable be
brought into the neighborhood, but it does require a satellite dish or antenna
oriented to receive the satellite transmissions. The satellite dish must have an
unobstructed view of the southern sky above which the satellites retain a fixed
position relative to the earth. Television providers beam content to the satellites,
and then the satellite TV dishes can pick up the signal for that programming.
With all of these advantages of satellite TV, it is not surprising that the number of
viewers has nearly doubled from 16% to 29% of US households in the past six
years. During this period the proportion of households in the U.S. with cable
services has remained at approximately 66%. (Jupiter Research) As the
preference for satellite dishes continues to increase, neighbors are complaining
about the unsightly proliferation of satellite dishes hanging off buildings,
damaging roofs, and diminishing the visual appeal of many properties. These
complaints have prompted local authorities, such as the Boston City Council, to
consider banning satellite TV devices from the front of buildings around the city.
The council recently conducted a public hearing about satellite dishes that have
“become an increasingly common feature in the urban landscape.” Council
President Michael Flaherty, who sponsored the measure also noted, “It’s an
eyesore.” The proposal seeks to confine the satellite television receivers to the
back of buildings, out of public sight. (Boston Globe, 10/17/2006, p. A1)
Situating Satellite TV Dishes Out of View is Difficult
This proliferation of satellite dishes, however, has been a contemptuous issue.
As their popularity has increased, so have concerns about their aesthetics. The
Federal Communications Commission has adopted a number of rules concerning
satellite antenna restrictions. In general, the FCC rules prohibit restrictions that
would impair a person’s ability to install an antenna in an exclusive use area.
However others may want to use common use area to enable them to get a high
quality satellite signal. Though associations may want to limit their installations,
association processes cannot be used as a prior approval requirement, nor can
they impose a delay or increase the cost of installation. Thus some associations
have chosen to develop a list of prioritized placement preferences, but
development of such a list and the overall process for associations to keep
current with these restrictions is laborious. The result is that any restriction about
the placement of satellite dishes is extremely difficult.
New Options Now Available to Associations
Rather than having residents install satellite antennas in undesirable locations,
associations can preempt residents by providing all of these advantages to
residents through the use of a single satellite dish. Thus associations can
eliminate all individual satellite dishes, and use a single satellite dish to receive
TV broadcasts and then distribute those TV channels to residents. Residents still
have the option of adding additional premium channels of their choice under a
separate purchase, without the involvement of their association. When these
services are purchased in bulk for the community, the total package of Internet
and TV services can be provided to residents for less than $50 per month. This
saves each unit owner significantly, since a similar bundle from Comcast would
typically be over $100 per month, or DSL from one provider coupled with
satellite TV might typically cost each resident $75 per month. Thus, residents
could obtain the same services as they could with their own satellite dish, but at
a less expensive price using the single common satellite dish.
The advantages of bulk satellite TV and high-speed Internet for condo
associations are compelling. Associations can now obtain satellite services for
residents at a very cost-effective rate through the use of a single satellite TV dish
for the entire community. TV programming and high-speed Internet access can
then distributed to each resident. Service providers can take care of the
installation and ongoing monitoring of the network, to the delight of residents
and their pocketbooks.