Toronto councillor says telecoms should unlock FM radio on Android smartphones

Toronto City Hall front

Toronto councillor Mary Fragedakis has presented a motion calling on telecom companies to active the FM radio chip found inside Android smartphones.

Fragedakis, who represents Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth, told CBC News that with FM radio, alerts can be sent out to notify citizens of emergencies like blackouts or natural disasters.

She said that while she understands the financial reasons behind keeping FM radio locked, she asks that companies consider the broader picture.

“Obviously, there is a lot of money to be made in data usage, but this issue is more about the safety of the public,” Fragedakis said.  

In the event the motion from the city of Toronto doesn’t pan out, Fragedakis said the motion also asks the federal government to get involved. “There is a secondary recommendation to ask the government of Canada to take steps necessary so that these FM chips are activated and to launch an education campaign to make Canadians aware of how to use FM radio capacity on their smartphones,” she told CBC News. 

The service is already widely available in the United States, with major providers like Sprint, AT&T and T-mobile having “turned on” the FM chip in their phones.

However, FM radio is not available there on Apple devices.

In April, the CRTC mandated that all carriers must offer a system that alerts Canadians of emergencies through LTE networks.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons 

Source: CBC News