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Dutch Regulator Cracks Down on Illegal Broadcasts

Agentschap Telecom will issue immediate fines to offenders

Dutch telecom regulator Agentschap Telecom says it will no longer — simply — warn those involved in illegal radio broadcasts in the Netherlands but will immediately issue fines, according to Radio NL/Novum. The penalty applies to all illegal FM broadcasts and can cost wrongdoers as much as 45,000 euros.

Illegal radio stations often have a wide reach, which can cause stations that have paid for their license to lose listeners and advertising revenue. The Telecom Agency receives about 1200 complaints each year from listeners complaining of interference.

Up to now, owners of land or buildings where an antenna system is located have received an initial warning letter asking them to stop the illegal broadcasts. A fine was imposed only if it appeared that the system was still being used after the first warning. Now offenders will get an instant fine, says the agency. This applies to all involved, the owner or tenant of the place where the transmitter is situated, as well as the broadcasters themselves.

In addition to imposing fines, the Agency also has the power to put an immediate stop to the broadcast.