Israeli MoC eyeing reduced internet access prices?

6 Mar 2012

Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) is reportedly set to launch a public hearing ahead of issuing a decision requiring the country’s two fixed infrastructure owners – Bezeq and HOT Telecommunication Systems – to reduce the prices they charge internet service providers (ISPs). According to Globes Online, it is understood that the MoC has concluded that, at ILS25 (USD6.57) per GB of traffic, the rates charged by both Bezeq and HOT for access to their respective network are overly high.

The issue has come to a head following the recent launch of a promotional campaign by HOT, in which the cableco’s ISP subsidiary HOT.net is offering a broadband connection offering downlink speeds of 100Mbps for just ILS20 per month when taken with a fixed line voice and pay-TV service bundle offered by its parent company. The move has led to claims by alternative ISPs that they are unable to compete with such end-user prices, in part as HOT.net is thought not to have the same agreement with its parent when it comes to cost-per-GB for traffic over the network.

Pricing of access, meanwhile, is also believed to come have under the regulator’s eye after, having examined the market, the MoC claimed that the prices charged by Bezeq and HOT to larger business customers are, in places, lower than those rates offered to ISPs. The regulator has suggested that large firms are offered rates some 10% lower than those offered to alternative internet operators, a fact which the Ministry says backs up ISP claims that access prices should be reduced.