The FCC will not be happy about this.
The Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai has been pushing for phone manufacturers and phone carriers to enable the FM chips on mobile phones. Shortly after accepting his role in the position, Pai had started asking providers to allow this functionality, although he has stopped short of ordering it. Luckily, he hasn’t needed to. Samsung, Motorola, LG and HTC all complied with the request. BlackBerry, of course, has had this enabled for years.
“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,” Pai said in a statement released by the FCC. “I applaud those companies that have done the right thing by activating the FM chips in their phones.”
Of course, Apple has made no move to comply with this request. Pai’s statement continued, “It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first. As the Sun Sentinel of South Florida put it, ‘Do the right thing, Mr. Cook. Flip the switch. Lives depend on it.’”
Apple has finally come forth and given a response. Their modern phones don’t have an FM chip. Their older phones have the chip but are not connected in any way in which the chips could be enabled.
Apple states they care about user’s safety.
“Apple cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis and that’s why we have engineered modern safety solutions into our products. Users can dial emergency services and access Medical ID card information directly from the Lock Screen, and we enable government emergency notifications, ranging from Weather Advisories to AMBER alerts.”
Of course, this does no good in a disaster situation like one which Pai is speaking of. Or those which we have had recently. The FCC states that two-thirds of the cellular sites in the U.S. Virgin Islands and more than 90 percent of those in Puerto Rico were down after the recent hurricanes in that area.