CTIA Calls FM Chip Emergency Communications Claims 'Silly'

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Wireless operators say broadcasters' suggestion that last week's devastating East Coast storms provided evidence of the need to activate FM chips in cellphones was "just silly."

The National Association of Broadcasters had argued that its members had filled an emergency communications void.

"While unseemly, it is unfortunately typical of NAB to shamelessly attempt to use natural disasters and the misfortune of others to advance their public policy agenda," said CTIA vice president of government affairs Jot Carpenter in a statement.

"NAB can claim "consumer demand' all it wants," said Carpenter, "but a recent survey by two of America's most respected polling firms suggests otherwise, finding next to no support across any demographic group for adding FM capability to cellphones. The reality is that, according to the government's own data, there are already nearly 900 million radios in America. The idea that an FM chip mandate would make it easier for Americans to access the radio is just silly."

NAB has been insisting it is not calling for a mandate, but has asked Congress to consider the importance of radio-enabled phones when it thinks about the future of audio, as it did in a House Communications Subcommittee Hearing last month.