FCC urges Apple to activate iPhone FM chips | finder.com

FCC urges Apple to activate iPhone FM chips

Peter Terlato 28 September 2017 NEWS

Necessary for “vital access to life-saving information”.

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai has targeted iPhone manufacturer Apple in his latest efforts to promote public safety, calling on the tech giant to activate FM chips installed in smartphones.

Since his appointment as chairman of the US communications regulator in January, Pai has been advocating that the mobile industry enable FM chips in phones to allow Americans to access emergency radio broadcasts.

“When wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to get vital access to life-saving information,” Pai said.

“You could make a case for activating chips on public safety grounds alone.”

However, one of the nation’s largest mobile telecommunications companies, Apple, has resisted providing its users access to the FM radio capability in its wide range of smartphone devices.

Pai hopes Apple will reconsider its position, given recent events such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

“It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first,” he added.

CNET contributor Rick Broida speculates the reason phone manufacturers leave FM chips deactivated is because they “probably don’t see it as a big value-add” and therefore don’t bother to make or include an app.

Last year, the National Campus and Community Radio Association of Canada started a change.org petition, calling on all telecom companies to enable FM chips on smartphones across the country.

“Listening to radio on your phone using the FM chip, instead of over the internet, saves you valuable data and battery life,” the petition said.

If you want to listen to the radio on your phone but aren’t sure if your device has an FM chip installed, you can check a list of supported devices and then download the free NextRadio app to activate your phone’s FM tuner.

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