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British Regulators Allow Device-Based Radio Transmissions

December 1, 2006

 

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British communications regulator Ofcom has now okayed the use of short-range FM transmitters within portable devices, a much-awaited change.

The development means that iPod users can now broadcast their collections through an unused radio frequency, a practice that is common in other countries like the United States.

An antiquated British law prohibited the broadcasts on the grounds that short-wave transmissions would interfere with legitimate broadcasts. The measure may have been difficult or impractical to enforce, though it prevented aftermarket iPod accessory manufacturers from tapping a lucrative market.

Now, the development opens the floodgates for component manufacturers like Griffin Technology, maker of the iTrip transmitter. It also allows mobile manufacturers to sell devices in the region that embed short-range radio broadcasting, a capability that has already been blended into phones like the LG Fusic.

Regardless of the changes, regulators are likely to monitor the strength of short-range systems to avoid any interference issues. In the United States, both Sirius, XM, and affiliated manufacturers survived an arduous clearance process triggered by the Federal Communications Commission, a review that examined the strength of embedded FM transmitters.

The British law changes on December 8th.

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