Boston City Council passes plan to cut satellite dish clutter

East Boston, MA 053112 Satellite dishes on Saratoga St in East Boston photographed on May 31, 2012. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ MET
Satellite dishes on Saratoga Street in East Boston last month
Essdras M. Suarez/Globe Staff

The Boston City Council today passed a plan to cut satellite dish clutter.

The proposal, which is supported by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, would require removal of all obsolete dishes. It would also ban new installations from facades and other walls facing the street, unless an installer can prove there is no other place to get a signal. Dishes would have to be placed on roofs, in the rear, or on the sides of buildings.

“It’s a good start to cleaning up the neighborhoods,” said Councilor Salvatore LaMattina of East Boston, who spearheaded the effort.

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“It’s fair. If you’re a user with a dish, its gets grandfathered in,” he said. “Any new installations, it requires that the satellite installers have to remove any dishes aren’t being used.”

If the ordinance passes, it will raise the ante in a growing national fight between densely populated cities and DIRECTV, DISH, and other satellite companies, the Globe reported last week.

An industry trade group told the Globe last week that such ordinances are “a terrible idea.”

“They single out satellite dishes for unfair treatment. It is hard to understand why a satellite dish is any more ‘aesthetically unpleasing’ than the jumbled mess of coaxial cable TV wires that stream down the front of buildings and homes throughout cities, or the multitude of air-conditioning boxes that stick out of windows,” the Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association said in a statement.

The requirements would increase the cost of satellite television, according to the statement, “because they make dish installation more expensive.”