Israeli communication ministry calls for comments on ultrafast broadband policy principles

21 Dec 2018

Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has called for comments on proposed policy principles related to the deployment of ultrafast broadband infrastructure, fixed line incumbent Bezeq has announced. The regulator is reported to have said that these policy principles are ‘intended to supplement the existing system of incentives and create regulatory certainty for the telecommunication companies in respect of fibre regulation’.

In its call for public comments, the MoC set out the initial principles according to which it is considering formulating regulation designed to provide solutions for numerous issues. These principles include, among other things, the implementation of a reasonable wholesale payment for bitstream internet access (BSA) services using a cost-based tariff, with this to be subject to ‘an effective margin squeeze prevention mechanism’.

Meanwhile, the MoC is also seeking to formulate an incentive mechanism for the operation of ‘advanced networks’. With regards to this, the policy proposals suggest that both Bezeq and HOT Telecommunication Systems should be given flexibility to establish the plan for operating their respective networks on a regional level. Those regions where these two infrastructure owners intend to deploy fibre would then be published for retail service providers ‘several months in advance’. It was also noted that, under the proposals, wholesale services would be provided on Bezeq’s ‘used and unused network, including dark fibre services’.

With the MoC having claimed the use of Bezeq’s dark fibre by retail service providers and the resulting competitive pressure will increase the telco’s incentive to operate its fibre network, it is seeking feedback on the matter by 31 January 2019.