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 VP 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.