HOT Communications will enter Israel’s market for superfast Internet. The move will help accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet infrastructure throughout the country.
The Communications Ministry approved the transfer to HOT of a controlling share of IBC, a fiber optics venture from Israel Electric. This will help shorten the time it would take to expand the network throughout Israel and reduce the project’s dependence on Bezeq’s infrastructure, the ministry said.
Under the terms of the deal, IBC will be expected to make the network available to at least 1.7 million Israeli households within five years. The network’s reach must be spread equally between the Center of the country and the periphery, including Judea and Samaria, the agreement stipulated.
IBC is now jointly owned by HOT, Cellcom, Israel Infrastructures Fund and Israel Electric. HOT will be obligated to offer all existing packages offered by other Internet service providers using the IBC network and to provide discounts to small players to encourage their use.
The government intends to invest heavily in such infrastructure projects as part of its plan to revive the economy after the coronavirus crisis.
The approval “will accelerate the rate of fiber deployment in Israel, ensure the maintenance of a healthy competitive level in the market and improve Internet services in terms of service quality and consumer price,” acting Communications Minister Benny Gantz said. “The move benefits all Israeli citizens who are craving high-speed Internet, especially these days during the coronavirus crisis.
“After a lost decade in the field of infrastructure, the State of Israel can catch up and become one of the leading countries in Internet speed,” he said. “Promoting and developing communication infrastructures with advanced technologies produces the growth engines that will enable the Israeli economy to emerge quickly from the coronavirus crisis.”