Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


The Commons

About digital rights, environmentalism, etc.

August 1, 2003

My Irish, Liverpool-loving friend John sends me news that the UK is banning the iTrip, the iPod add-on that I recently endorsed:

The iTrip connects to an iPod and transmits songs by FM radio to any radio receiver in the vicinity. While its operation in the US is permitted by the Federal Communications Commission, over here the device contravenes the UK Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949.

Unlike the 2.4GHz band in which 802.11b Wi-Fi operates, or 802.11a's 5HGz band, for example, the 87.7-107.9MHz band used by the iTrip is not licence-exempt spectrum, according to the WTA. As such broadcasters hoping to use that part of the spectrum need the permission of the UK's Radio Agency.

This is all a bit silly. The iTrip's functional range is about ten feet (in the desert, in a vacuum). They should just amend the law to add a free range for extreme-short distance broadcast devices. Slashdot also mentions this.

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