As of mid-December, Radiocommunications Agency Netherlands will increase the penalty for illegal use of the FM band to a maximum of €45,000. Also over the Christmas period, additional inspectors will be employed to prevent nuisance from radio pirates.
The penalty will vary from case to case depending on the severity of the offence. This is determined by the degree of interference that the pirate transmitter causes to legitimate broadcasts. Besides the higher penalty, the Radiocommunications Agency will adopt a policy of giving the offender a one hour warning to switch off the transmitter. If the offender fails to comply, an inspector will officially report the violation, and the offender will consequently risk a penalty.
The Radiocommunications Agency has recently noticed a change in the type of radio piracy, which has moved away from so-called “attic pirates” (hobbyists), and now increasingly involves larger pirates operating in conjunction with music events. They use powerful transmitters with higher antenna masts, which means they can cover a wider area and can cause more disruption. The Radiocommunications Agency also sees an increase in the number of mobile masts that can be controlled remotely from a studio. This type of mast is often used in broadcasts from restaurants, party tents and marquees.
(Source: Radiocommunications Agency Netherlands via Radio Netherlands Media Network blog)