More death of analog... and a friendly letter from OnStar

March 16, 2007

3 Min Read

12:30 PM -- Apparently, they are killing off analog communication and entertainment products like rats in the NYC subway.

Earlier this week, I noted the demise of analog broadcast TV and the end of our beloved Rabbit Ears. Now I've received a letter from OnStar -- the purveyors of those annoying radio commericals in which they claim the communication system they've installed in GM vehicles will save you from anything ranging from a flat tire to a nuclear holocaust. Here are some excerpts from this letter, along with my annotations:

  • Dear Mr. Raynovich,We at OnStar want to express our appreciation for your loyalty and business over the past several years. We are writing to you today to inform you of an upcoming change to your service.

Uh-oh, you know a letter that starts like this isn't headed in the right direction. I'm about to get hosed.

  • For the past 10 years, OnStar has relied on the analog wireless nwetwork to provide communications to and from OnStar-equipped vehicles. However, based on a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling....

Yeah, that's it. blame the gummint. They did it, right?

  • ... wireless carriers will not be required to support the analog wireless network beginning in early 2008. Without the analog network, we can't ensure the national coverage that will allow us to provide you the services you expect from us.

Let me get this straight. The FCC actually passed a rule eliminating regulation, but you're saying that caused the network to be not available. The cause and effect is a little cloudy to me here. It's as if the FCC ran the network themselves. Sneaky, OnStar. Why don't you just fess up that you decided supporting an analog network was too expensive?

  • As a result, beginning January 1, 2008, OnStar service in the United States and Canada will only be available through vehicles that are capable of operating on the digital network.

Finally, the bottom line. Couldn't you just have started the letter this way? Weenies.

  • Since your vehicle's equipment is analog-only, your vehicle's OnStar system will not operate on the digital wireless network. Unfortunately, this means we can't extend your OnStar subscription past December 31, 2007. In particular, in an emergency, despite what your system may indicate, you will not have a connection.

Okay, I get it now. Do you have to insult me and then gloat over it too? In the event of an emergency, I'm screwed.

  • We want you to know that there are currently many 2006 and 2007 GM models available with OnStar digital network capability that will be able to recive OnStar service after December 31, 2007.

Very helpful, thank you. So you're saying the solution to this problem is to just go out and buy another car, so that I can continue to give you money, even though my car is only four years old and I just bought it off the lease. Very helpful.

  • We hope to be able to maintain our relationship with you through your future vehicle purchases.


Well, it looks like OnStar should redo some of those annoying commercials . Something like this:

  • "OnStar, help, help! I've crashed into a telephone poll and now I'm being mugged.

    (no answer)"Help me... mphhfhhhh... ... help..."(no answer)"Please... Aaiiyhyhyiiiieahhghghghh!"(silence, commercial ends)

— R. Scott Raynovich, Editor in Chief, Light Reading

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like