Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Aug 2010 22:19 UTC
Multimedia, AV A couple of days ago we talked about how the RIAA and NAB are planning on asking US Congress to mandate FM radio chips inside every cell phone. This plan was met with some ridicule, so the NAB decided to write a blog post addressing the critics. Most of the post is overshadowed by an overdose of America's favourite national pastime: WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE. 9/11!
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RE[2]: Dennis, you're a jacka@@
by whartung on Thu 26th Aug 2010 01:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Dennis, you're a jacka@@"
whartung
Member since:
2005-07-06

FM has far more bandwidth (since it's broadcast vs point to point) than SMS or any other cell phone tech. That's why the networks crash, they're not designed to work with "everybody" at the same time.

FM is "cheap and primitive". In Southern California, 20-30 point to point phone calls will pretty much hit every FM broadcaster and their combined megawattage will cover several million people very quickly, and localized in to the different languages. That's quite efficient. That's how it would likely go down, even before an Emergency Broadcast alert goes out (that's what it's for, to notify other stations, not necessarily the public itself).

Radio works when the power is down, since most radios are battery powered. Only the radio stations need large amounts of power, and most have backup power. Plus the radio stations are (mostly) well distributed, so one can be taken out while others are on the air (downside is many have their antennas concentrated on a few, select mountain peaks...but...not all of them).

A radio is a very convenient thing to have in public emergencies. Folks were glued to radios and TVs during the fire emergencies looking for evacuation news and such. We've all seen the foibles of the internet under load (both the good times and bad). Must be fun to see the Cal Tech traffic spike up after every earthquake down here.

And cell phone networks simply are not designed to take the load of a public aroused.

From a Civil Defense point of view, a radio in the cell phone is a good idea. I don't think we have a radio here our office, for example (our bad, I'll get that fixed). So if the net and cell towers were down, we'd be pretty much dead to the world, and have to go down to our cars to listen to anything.

That said, I wouldn't mandate a radio in a cell phone. It would be nice if it were more available. If it's more popular, than odds are good that there will be better, and probably "enough" penetration of radios in to the population to be effective in a CD scenario, without having to mandate every phone having it.

Part of the problem is the people advocating the solution. It's like how come all the "HEMP NOW" people seem to hang out in head shops around pot paraphernalia? Kind of hurts the message.

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