Mobile, IT Groups Declare War On FM Chip Mandate
Letter To Congress Their First Salvo, NAB Fires Back
August 23, 2010 at 4:16 PM (PT)
Six IT and mobile trade groups, including the CONSUMER ELECTRONICS ASSOCIATION (CEA) and mobile organization CTIA, have sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, where they blast the NAB's proposal to mandate FM chips in all mobile devices, reports PC WORLD. The proposal was part of a settlement between the NAB and music industry on performance royalties.
"It is simply wrong for two entrenched industries to resolve their differences by agreeing to burden a third industry -- which has no relationship to or other interest in the performance royalty dispute -- with a costly, ill-considered, and unnecessary new mandate," they wrote. "The proposed imposition of an FM chip mandate is not necessary for resolution of the dispute between performance artists and broadcasters."
It is simply wrong for two entrenched industries to resolve their differences by agreeing to burden a third industry with a costly, ill-considered and unnecessary new mandate
What's more, they allege that an FM chip to mobile devices would raise production costs and give consumers functionality they haven't demanded, since mobile devices that contain FM chips aren't top sellers in the U.S.
In response NAB EVP/Communications DENNIS WHARTON released the following statement. "Countries around the globe have added radio-enabled cell phones that are increasingly popular with consumers ... Day in and day out, local radio stations serve as a reliable lifeline in times of crisis and weather emergencies. In an increasingly mobile society, it would be unfortunate if telco gatekeepers blocked access to public safety information offered by free and local radio."
Yet the letter derided the NAB's emergency alert/public safety contention by noting, "Pursuant to the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act, [the mobile] industry is working with the FCC, FEMA and other governmental stakeholders to develop a mobile broadcast emergency alerting system compatible with present and future wireless air interfaces that will allow for the targeted real-time delivery of government-approved alerts. A widely available alerting platform will soon be a reality.
"Adopting an FM chip focused solution, which was considered and rejected during implementation of the WARN Act, will put this multi-year collaboration and investment at risk and delay the widespread availability of alerting capability. In addition, an FM chip would provide a materially inferior means of providing real-time alerts to mobile consumers. The existence of an FM chip in a mobile device does not guarantee that a consumer would be tuned to a station broadcasting an announcement about an impending danger. In contrast, the WARN Act system will provide immediate notification of government-approved alerts."
Read the entire letter here.