FCC Commissioner Copps Raises Issue Of FM Chips In Cellphones
September 8, 2011 at 5:08 PM (PT)
At a webinar and workshop on network reliability TODAY (9/8), FCC Commissioner MICHAEL J. COPPS raised the issue of the possibility of mandating the inclusion of FM receiver chips in cellphones.
"I think the time is here for a thorough, calm and reasoned discussion about FM chips in handsets," COPPS said. "We all acknowledge the need for redundancy in communications -- especially emergency communications -- and last week, during the earthquake, a lot of folks were only able to get information through radio broadcasts when the phone networks got congested. What are the pros and cons of an FM chip? To what extent have other countries had experience with this? There will be a lot of questions to answer, but with the stakes so high, we should be open to discussing any and all reasonable ideas. And we must understand the sense of urgency that this requires, given the passing of a decade between 9/11 and now. Public safety has waited too long. Citizens have waited too long."
The comments pleased the NAB, with Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH issuing a response stating, "NAB welcomes Commissioner COPPS's timely call for a discussion on the merits of radio-enabled smartphones. With the 9/11 anniversary looming, it's notable that broadcasting remains the unchallenged leader in delivering emergency information to the masses faster and more reliably than any other communications platform. While cellphone signals jammed and power was down during Hurricane IRENE and the recent EAST COAST earthquake, it was the robust 'one-to-many' transmission architecture of local broadcasting that kept listeners and viewers in touch and informed.
"Radio chips in cellphones require no additional spectrum and could be activated immediately in many devices. From a public safety perspective alone, it's time to give citizens access to lifeline information provided by AMERICA's hometown radio stations."