(RTTNews) – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urged Apple Inc. (AAPL) to activate FM radio chips in its phones in the interests of public safety during natural disasters.
Pai said, “In recent years, I have repeatedly called on the wireless industry to activate the FM chips that are already installed in almost all smartphones sold in the United States. And I’ve specifically pointed out the public safety benefits of doing so….. 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. I applaud those companies that have done the right thing by activating the FM chips in their phones.”
FM radio signals can travel much farther than cellular data signals, making them a potential lifeline in an emergency. Every major smartphone manufacturer that sells in the U.S., including Samsung Electronics Co, Lenovo Group’s Motorola, LG Corp. and HTC Corp, has FM-activated chips in their most popular phones. Except one.
“Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so. But I hope the company will reconsider its position,” Pai said.
In a statement, Apple said “iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products.”
Apple said it “cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis,” noting that emergency services can be dialed from a locked screen and that its phones enable government emergency notifications. But those functions would not work when wireless networks are down.
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