FCC chairman urges smartphone makers to activate FM chips

FCC chairman urges smartphone makers to activate FM chips

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s new chairman, Ajit Pai, wants smartphone makers to activate the FM chips. Howevr, he made it clear that he won’t push for it.

In a speech at the North American Broadcasters Association, Mr. Pai said the majority of smartphones in the U.S. contain FM chips but they aren’t activated. Last year, just around 44 per cent of smartphones selling in the country had activated FM chips.

Speaking on the topic, he said, “It seems odd that every day we hear about a new smartphone app that lets you do something innovative, yet these modern-day mobile miracles don't enable a key function offered by a 1982 Sony Walkman.”

Mr. Pai has been widely known as an enemy of net neutrality, but he is also known for urging smartphone makers to activate FM chips/radios for years.

Delivering his speech, he stressed that activating FM chips in smartphones could play a crucial role in public safety as it could allow users to receive alerts during an emergency, or whenever wireless networks are shut down.

Nearly 90 per cent of Americans (aged 12-50) have smartphones, while 93 per cent of Americans at 12 years old or older still listen to the radio, and the figure has been consistent for the past 20 years.