Consolidation of broadband infrastructure and content providers on the way?

8 Mar 2011

Israeli internet subscribers may find they no longer need to sign up to services from a combination of infrastructure provider and internet service provider (ISP) to get online, as support for the ending of structural separation in the broadband sector grows. The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, Globes Online reports, has backed proposals made by the Hayek committee to revoke the requirement for fixed line incumbent and cableco HOT Telecommunications Systems to offer infrastructure and content services separately. At a meeting discussing the matter, the Economic Affairs Committee chairman MK Carmel Shama noted: ‘There is no doubt that the current situation, which was created with good intentions, has resulted in something we did not expect, and caused lower quality and more expensive service that bedevils consumers and causes uncertainty. The time has come to put an end to this.’ Unsurprisingly Bezeq and HOT representatives present at the meeting backed such action, along with a representative of the country’s Consumer Council. ISP NetVision however has expressed reservations about such a development, warning against a possible takeover of the internet sector by the two infrastructure owners should the restrictions be lifted.