Dutch govt looking into new FM code of conduct

Thursday 17 May 2018 | 16:58 CET | News
The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs wants to bring the FM Code of Conduct back to life and has started a consultation on the matter. A special agreement existed between 2013 and 2015 between Dutch regulator Agentschap Telecom and commercial FM stations. The goal of the current consultation is to see if such a code could improve the range and/or quality of FM stations, with additional network-connected frequencies or support transmitters.

The FM Code of Conduct was eliminated in 2015 because the FM licenses were redistributed and the economic value had to be determined. The ministry and the agency have since wondered if the regulation should come back. Some stakeholders are for, others against, but so far these have only been informal standpoints. That is why the government has launched a new consultation, open up to 14 June.

Should the law come back, it will look a bit different, because the regulator ran against legal possibilities in the pursuit of its policy goals. The central objective of the frequency policy is, according to the Policy Document on Frequency Policy 2016, the efficient use of frequencies. Specifically for FM, the policy is aimed at moving from FM to DAB+. This may mean that FM support transmitters may have to again disappear.

EZK considers phasing out FM

The government is also working on a policy document about the future of radio broadcasts in general. A report about the future of analogue FM and AM radio is expected to come in the second half of the year. This was stated by State Secretary of Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer to Parliament just before Christmas.

The government wants to get rid of the last non-digital distribution, AM and FM. Currently there are still a large, if unknown, number of car radios and portable radios without DAB/DAB+ tuner. Most FM licenses will expire in 2022, but it may be too drastic to switch off everything.

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Categories: Broadcast & Satellite
Companies: Agentschap Telecom / Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat
Countries: Netherlands
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