The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee approved a bill on Monday that will open the video on demand (VOD) market to companies other than HOT, paving the way for Bezeq's satellite television unit, YES, to begin offering the service.
The bill, submitted by the Communications Ministry, came as a result of Bezeq's repeated appeals to the ministry to change its policy limiting the VOD market only to HOT. In January, the ministry said it had submitted a draft proposal to the Economic Affairs Committee seeking to increase competition in the VOD market by allowing YES and other contractors to begin offering subscribers VOD access.
The bill will now go the Knesset plenum for a second and third reading, and YES fully expects that the company will be approved to enter the VOD arena before the Knesset goes on its summer recess at the end of this week.
"Once the decision is made by the Knesset, which we expect to happen on Wednesday, we will publish a statement," said a YES spokesperson.
According to YES, the company will offer the VOD service, which allows viewers to buy a movie, sports event or other requested programming in real-time on their televisions, through Bezeq's existing ADSL infrastructure.
"Today, the VOD service is only available to HOT's customers and this bill will allow many more people to enjoy the benefits of VOD and it will also increase competition in the television sector on the whole - a development that will ultimately prove to be a good one for media consumers," said Dr. Yehiel Shabi, Communications Ministry spokesman.
HOT could not be reached for comment.