Max Fibre

Israel gets ‘revolutionary’ fast fiber optic net

The Electric Company is offering fiber optic Internet connections to Israeli homes and businesses. Beginning next month, the Unlimited network is set to offer speeds up to 1 gbps (1 , or 1000 megabits, per second) via “retail” communications companies, which are to be responsible for customer connection and service.

The IEC was granted a license to set up a communications network in 2011 as part of the government’s commitment to increase competition in the communications sphere, Moshe Kahlon, then communications minister, said in a 2011 press conference announcing the network. After several delays, including one caused by lack of interest from infrastructure builders, the project was executed and is being built by a consortium of companies, led by Swedish communications infrastructure company Viaeuropa and the IEC.

According to the IEC, the network will cover about 70 percent of the country by the end of the decade, but fiber optic connections (FTTH, or “fiber-to-the-home”) will be available in many parts of the Tel Aviv area next year, competing with phone company Bezeq and cable TV company HOT, both of which supply Internet infrastructure throughout Israel. Those companies’ networks use a combination of standard copper wiring and fiber connections, and both networks top out at about 100 mbps (megabits per second), making the IEC’s proposed fiber connections ten times faster than the best Bezeq or HOT can do. Last week, HOT announced that it was making connections of 200 mbps, although Erdan, speaking at the event, said that he “highly doubted” that subscribers would get connections of that speed. In any event, he said, it was only because of anticipated competition from the Unlimited network that HOT and Bezeq had recently been talking about upgrading their service.

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