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Why The Closed Door Meeting on FM Chip?


It's never a good thing when meetings are held behind closed doors. That lack of transparency leaves people at the mercy of however the meeting participants want to craft a headline. And, when the government is involved in a closed door meeting everyone should be twice as skeptical. For whatever reason, the FM Chip issue was the focus of an FCC closed door meeting last Friday and even the NAB was unwilling to discuss what went on.

Closed door meetings about the FM Chip just give off the impression that the radio industry is trying to sneak this through. And it appears, despite the positive spin coming from our industry, many cell phone manufacturers, including Apple, are opposed to government even getting close to this debate.

A Wireless Association letter to the FCC, praising the commission for "a light regulatory touch" includes signatures from Apple, Motorola, RIM and Samsung. "The Wireless Association and the undersigned manufacturers, who supply over 85 percent of mobile wireless broadband devices to consumers in the United States and the vast majority of devices to the world, write to underscore their strong concern with any intervention in the innovation, design and features of wireless devices in the dynamic wireless ecosystem. This Commission is well aware of the United States’ lead in driving innovations in wireless devices, operating systems, applications, and networks."

The letter also urges the FCC to leave this decision up to the consumer, a decision the Wireless Association believes has already been made. And, they are correct on the consumer front. The radio industry hasn't really produced any evidence there is an outcry for the FM chip.  "The fact is, demand for FM-enabled handsets in the U.S. has been underwhelming. The market should drive feature decisions rather than a separate, self-interested industry," the Wireless Industry letter to the FCC stated.

The radio industry originally wanted the government to mandate the FM chip. They have since reversed course on that approach and are now pushing the chip as a safety issue. A chip would not require the use of data so as long as a phone has power, those with a chip could be turned on for information from local radio stations.

The Wireless Association has been clear in its opposition to the chip. It's recent FCC letter included additional concerns they say they would have to deal with. "Issues such as battery life, integration issues, the presence of numerous antennas (perhaps as many as nine or more) and components for other cutting-edge capabilities all compete for extremely limited “real estate” within sleek, carefully designed devices that attract and excite wireless users. The notion of government intervention in this extremely complex and intricate development and engineering process would dangerously impact this thriving ecosystem and undoubtedly have a detrimental impact."

(1/8/2014 2:49:33 PM)
h2haqJ Really informative article. Really Cool.

- NY
(12/15/2013 5:46:29 AM)
AI8Mtf Very informative blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

- NY
(11/17/2013 3:59:58 PM)
Nc2GgJ I cannot thank you enough for the blog.Much thanks again. Cool.

- NY
(10/24/2013 8:51:16 PM)
xMn17x Im obliged for the post.Much thanks again. Awesome.

- NY
(7/24/2012 12:35:35 PM)
Apple, which could buy the entire radio industry with one quarter's profit, isn't going to let anyone tell them what has to be on their devices.


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