Israel’s fiber-optic deployment sets a global precedent

According to a study by the World Bank, Israel’s rapid and extensive deployment of fiber-optic internet infrastructure will boost the economy.

 Fiber optical lamp globe (photo credit: FLICKR)
Fiber optical lamp globe
(photo credit: FLICKR)

Israel is doing a bang-up job in expanding its high-speed, fiber-optic Internet network, according to an international study by the World Bank.

It was presented to Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel Monday morning by World Bank vice president and head of global infrastructure Riccardo Puliti.

The study investigated the effects of advanced communication technologies on the economy, employment, households and businesses. It found that high-speed Internet access increases the chance of finding a job by 7% to 13%, and every percentage increase in high-speed Internet use increases GDP by up to 0.4%.

“Israel ranks first in the world in the rate of fiber deployment, so it is natural that the World Bank chose to present here the study on the benefits of advanced infrastructure,” Hendel said.

“We‘ve shown the world how to bring advanced infrastructure even to places where there is no economic viability."

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel

“We‘ve shown the world how to bring advanced infrastructure even to places where there is no economic viability,” he said. “This government has advanced the periphery more than any of the previous governments. We proved that what they did not do was possible, and we brought fiber to every corner of the country at record speed.”

 (from left to right) the World Bank's Vice President and Head of Global Infrastructure, Riccardo Puliti; Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel; Director General of the Communications Ministry, Liran Avisar Ben-Hurin. (credit: COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON) (from left to right) the World Bank's Vice President and Head of Global Infrastructure, Riccardo Puliti; Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel; Director General of the Communications Ministry, Liran Avisar Ben-Hurin. (credit: COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON)

The Communications Ministry has expanded fiber-optics availability from 18% of households at the beginning of 2020 to more than 60% today, and it expects to reach 70% by the end of the year. The ministry is expected to meet again with the World Bank in September to share its fiber-optics deployment model with other countries.

“High-speed Internet means rapid growth, opening up employment opportunities and quality of life,” Hendel said. “It will reach everywhere in Israel: from Dimona and the Jordan Valley to Amirim in the North to the Ayelot region in the South. The revolution will reach everyone.”

The World Bank's study

The World Bank study examined how expanding Internet accessibility and adopting digital technologies correlates to macroeconomic effects, such as GDP and productivity growth, as well as how they impact households, the employment market and businesses.

The study described the effects of fiber-optics accessibility on the economy and suggested that it is a tool to reduce disparities. Thus, the chance of an educated population finding a job increases 7% to 13% when it has access to fiber optics. In Israel, this is particularly relevant to the Arab and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) populations, which have large workforce potential but low access to fiber optics.

According to the study, an increase of just 1% in the use of fixed (non-mobile) communications infrastructure can increase a country’s GDP by 0.08%, and a similar increase in the use of mobile communications infrastructure can increase a country’s GDP by 0.4%. The business sector also benefits from cost reduction and increased efficiency by transitioning to advanced communication technologies, the study found.

“The research establishes what we know well,” Communications Ministry Director-General Liran Avisar Ben-Horin said. “High-speed Internet in the periphery is the most effective tool for reducing gaps and integration in the Israeli economy and society.”