Ofcom | press release
Legalising the use of low power FM transmitters for MP3 players
Ofcom today proposed to legalise the use of low power FM transmitters which can be used to connect MP3 players and other personal audio devices wirelessly to radios and in-car entertainment systems . Simple and low cost wireless devices, such as the “iTrip”, are commonly used in other countries to enable people to listen to music transmitted from an MP3 player or other audio device to radios in the home or on the move.
Low power FM radio transmitters for MP3 players are currently unauthorised for use in the UK and Europe because of the potential to cause interference to broadcast services. Ofcom is responding to growing consumer demand for the use of these devices and has led negotiations in Europe to develop a harmonised approach to their use by late autumn 2006.
Deregulation of CB radio
Ofcom also proposes to deregulate Citizens’ Band services, allowing around 20,000 licensees to use short range transmitters for hobby and leisure purposes without the administrative and cost burden of an Ofcom licence.
The deregulation of Citizens’ Band services could also support the growth of Community Audio Distribution Systems (CADs), simple and inexpensive wireless public address systems which are used to transmit local community services. Ofcom recently consulted on CADs and announced trials in Northern Ireland and West Yorkshire in April 2006.
Allocation of new spectrum for low power devices
Ofcom’s proposals also include making more spectrum available to meet consumer demand for other low power devices such as hearing aids, alarms systems, tracking and tracing systems and meter reading devices. Under the proposals these will be able to operate in the 169.4 -169.8125 MHz band.
The deadline for responses to the consultation is 22 September 2006. The full consultation can be found in the Related Items.
Note for Editors and CSEs
1. Ofcom is consulting on a range of changes to the Wireless Telegraphy Exemption Regulations 2003, which are part of its overall approach to reduce regulation whilst encouraging innovative use of the UK’s finite national spectrum resource. Under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949, the use of wireless telegraphy equipment in the UK must be licensed unless it is specifically exempt.