iPod FM transmitters could soon be legal in UK

The January issue of MacFormat magazine has an interesting article on the future of FM transmitters in the UK. The publication notes that representatives from Ofcom—the regulating body for the UK communications industries—were on hand at October’s MacExpo in London to clamp down on exhibitors illegally selling FM transmitters for the iPod. However, Ofcom was also at the show to negotiate a way to offer the accessories legally.

From the issue:

The current problem is that British, and indeed European, law prevents people from broadcasting on commercial FM frequencies. It’s also illegal to sell the transmitters, as they can’t receive the required certification. Commercial radio is less tightly monitored in countries such as America, which is why products like Griffin’s iTrip are so popular over there.

Over the past year, though, Ofcom has been working with the likes of Griffin and Belkin to find a way around this problem. At the Expo, Griffin and its UK reseller, AM Micro, were presented with a draft spec for a legal alternative. This solution involves a transmitter that operates over a very small distance. AM Micro’s Stephen Hawkins explained: “The maximum power of the device has to be small. That way the range is limited so it cannot interfere with your next door neighbour.”

The proposal is still awaiting official approval, but Hawkins is confident that it will go through early next year, as it already has government support. “The government has realised that its missing out on a lot of taxes from these products,” he said. “Also, its receiving a load of complaints from people who want to buy them.”

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