New FCC chair: Let’s get those FM chips activated
February 16, 2017
He’s anti-net neutrality and pro ridding the agency of what he sees as unnecessary consumer protections.
He’s also very much in favor of FM chips, a subject that hasn’t really gotten much attention in Washington, D.C.
The FM chip, of course, is located in smartphones. It’s an antennae that allows a phone to act as an FM receiver.
The technology has been available in most phones for a while, but it’s not widely used. Pai said Thursday that just 44 percent of best-selling phones use it. But he’d like to see that number improve.
Pushback from industry
Pai, in an appearance at an industry conference, encouraged smartphone makers to turn on the chip, saying it could have two big benefits: 1. It enables phones to get emergency notifications without internet connections, a concern in the case of an emergency internet outage; 2. It saves consumers money, because they use less data.
Pai pointed out that 80 percent of phones in Mexico are activated.
Still, all Pai can do is encourage carriers and manufacturers to turn on the FM chips. The FCC doesn’t have authority to mandate the activation.
And carriers have little incentive to encourage people to do it – their customers pay for the data they use.
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