FM Chips Yes. Mandate No Way.

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At Thursday’s NABA Future of Audio Symposium in Washington DC, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said you could make a case that all smartphones should have their FM chips activated on public safety grounds alone. However, he said because he is a free market kind of guy, he cannot support a government mandate requiring activation of the chips.

Pai said he’ll keep speaking about the benefits of activating FM chips in smartphones, however, that’s as far as he’ll go. “I don’t believe the FCC has the power to issue a mandate like that, and more generally I believe it’s best to sort this issue out in the marketplace. For despite the low numbers, we are seeing progress; in the last two years, the percentage of top-selling smartphones in the United States that have activated FM chips has risen from less than 25% to 44%.”

Pai said most consumers would love to access some of their favorite content over-the-air, while using one-sixth of the battery life and less data. “As more and more Americans use activated FM chips in their smartphones, consumer demand for smartphones with activated FM chips should continue to increase.”

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