Bezeq to freeze NGN rollout amid regulatory uncertainty

27 Apr 2006

Israel’s fixed line incumbent Bezeq is to halt the development of its next-generation network (NGN), citing an uncertain regulatory environment, according to local newspaper Globes. The telco has been working on its NGN project for 18 months, but CEO Yacov Gelbard has long complained of unclear regulations concerning VoIP and video-on-demand (VoD) services, which he says have prevented him from fully assessing the feasibility of the network. Bezeq or one of its subsidiaries hopes to be able to provide VoIP services over the NGN and has requested rights to do so from the MoC. However, the regulator is denying it access to the IP telephony market until its market share in the fixed line domestic telephony segment has fallen below 85%. There is also confusion over whether Bezeq’s satellite broadcast subsidiary YES will be allowed to provide VoD services over the new infrastructure. Bezeq is set to complete the testing of the NGN in the coming weeks, but will freeze investments before choosing vendors and beginning commercial implementation of the project.