Sunday 28 May 2017

FM Radio a Global Standard Mobile Emergency Utility

ITU supports activating FM chips in smartphones. Norway draws a blank. 
The North American Broadcasters Association opinion on activating radio receivers in smartphones has been adopted by the International Telecommunication Union (a United Nations organization). Enabling the FM chip present present in most smartphones would allow users convenient access to FM radio in times of emergency and natural disasters. The submission is supported by other international broadcasting organizations. -- Today there are an estimated 2,5 billion smartphones users in the world.  Number of stand-alone, portable and in-car FM radio receivers are estimated at 6 billion.

The opinion (full text below) was initially submitted to the Radiocommunication sector of the ITU in Geneva in October of 2016, and was discussed, edited, and approved at the March 2017 meetings of the ITU’s Study Group 6,which specializes in broadcasting services. NABA’s submission was supported by the EBU, International Association of Broadcasting, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union and the World Broadcasting Unions as well as a number of government administrations. 

This is not good news for Norway presently closing its national FM network. A market for DAB-able smartphones is not even around the corner.

ITU Radiocommunication Study Group 6, considering

a) that Report ITU-R BT.2299 provides a compilation of supporting evidence that terrestrial broadcasting plays a critically important role in disseminating information to the public in times of emergencies;

b) that the overall robustness of broadcast services is enhanced by the geographical diversity of multiple radio and television services within a given region,whereby total loss of service during service disruptions rarely occurs;

c) that radio receivers are generally highly reliable, regardless of almost any disorder or disruption taking place in the affected disaster area;

d) that the majority of smart phones contain hardware that consists of a multitude of connectivity capabilities including, among other things, Bluetooth and similar technologies. Regardless of the chipset manufacturer selected by the smart phone maker, FM receivers have a nearly 100 percent inclusion in this set of connectivity chips;

e) that Report ITU-R BT.2387 indicates that some countries are implementing digital sound broadcasting and while the demand for analogue FM radio remains strong, some countries have extended the FM band,

is of the opinion
that citizens of the world would benefit if manufacturers of mobile telephones, tablets, and similar devices as well as associated service providers would include and activate a broadcast radio tuner functionality in their products along with the appropriate applications to facilitate radio broadcasting reception.