MoC consulting on proposed revisions to licensing for internet access infrastructure services

5 Mar 2020

Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) is reportedly considering its options for revising the licensing process for companies that wish to offer ‘internet access infrastructure’ services. Local fixed line incumbent Bezeq highlighted the matter in a press release, citing the publication of a document, ‘Hearing – Document for Licensing of New Operators Requesting to Supply Broadband Internet Access Infrastructure Service’, by the MoC earlier this week.

With Bezeq keen to stress that it had not been formally notified of the hearing, the telco said that according to the ministerial documents, the regulator was considering changes to the licensing process for companies wishing to offer internet access infrastructure services, with a view to promoting competition and encouraging the entry of new providers to the market. It is understood that the MoC is of the opinion that there is room to lower the barrier to entry for new operators to supply infrastructure services, and in that vein it has been proposed that they would initially only be required to obtain a ‘special concession’, rather than a general licence. Such a development would make entry to the market cheaper, while streamlining the process for would-be infrastructure providers, as the MoC’s own hearing document acknowledges that the application procedure for a general licence is complex.

Responses to the MoC’s proposals are being accepted until 15 March 2020, and while Bezeq has said it is still studying the hearing documents, it has already claimed that ‘in certain circumstances the principles of the hearing might lead to possible damage to [its] business on a scale that at this stage [it] is unable to estimate’.