The CTIA, partnering with major players in the wireless industry – AT&T, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Sprint Nextel, Syniverse Technologies, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless – sent a letter this morning to Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Representatives Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) on the broadcast industry's request to require FM chipsets in mobile devices.
The broadcast industry’s push for mandatory FM chipsets is in response to the Warning, Alert and Response Network Act (WARN Act) passed by Congress, which intends to implement a Commercial Mobile Alert Service.
A statement from the CTIA said the association and its signatories believe that the broadcast industry’s proposed mandate is not consistent with Congress' intent of the WARN Act, nor is it in the public's interest. Instead, the letter supports creating a comprehensive alert service that can be transmitted using multiple media outlets, including wireless.
Calling the broadcast industry’s push for FM chipsets an “eleventh-hour argument,” the letter cited numerous technical difficulties associated with such a mandate.
“As a practical matter, constant monitoring for an FM emergency would rapidly diminish the battery life of a mobile device,” the letter stated, and went on to cite the high costs of development and implementation.
The letter concludes by asking for a broader solution than the one offered by the broadcast industry. “A complete public alert and warning system should explore the full range of communications media and devices so that all – TV, wireless, radio, cable and satellite – can complement each other in a layered approach, which would result in an effective alerting system.”