iTrip to be legalised in UK

Ofcom is relaxing its regulation of low-power FM transmitters, in a boost for CB nuts and those who want to play their iPod through their car stereo

Ofcom has cut the ties on another section of the airwaves in a move that will free up iPod accessories and CB radios.

The communications watchdog has decided to deregulate low-power FM transmitters, which had previous been banned in the UK on the grounds they could interfere with broadcast systems.

An Ofcom spokesman said: "We've now looked at the interference possibility and have taken a practical view that the risk is fairly low and that legalising them is [OK] given the high market demand."

Ofcom has been spurred into action by consumer fondness for devices such as the iTrip, which lets drivers play iPods through car stereos, when tuned in to the mini transmitters, and is now putting its head together with other European regulators to come up with a joint approach.

Ofcom has also announced a new a hands-off approach to CB radio. The breakers can now "10 four, good buddy" without the "administrative and cost burden" of getting a licence, the regulator said.

According to Ofcom, the use of CB radio by hobbyists is declining with around 20,000 users in the UK. The watchdog said it no longer wants the regulatory burden of overseeing the CB market.