Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has confirmed that it will abolish the separation of ISP and infrastructure services for residential subscribers, with local fixed line incumbent Bezeq detailing the government plans in this area.
In a press release, Bezeq noted that by 20 August 2021 infrastructure operators that are currently obliged to offer a wholesale access service – i.e. Bezeq and HOT Telecommunication Systems – will be required to present an agreement ‘that will regulate the key performance indicators (KPIs) and the agreed damages arrangements with a party requesting access for its ISP licence holder for at least 10,000 active customers in the wholesale market as of the date of publication of the ruling’. By 20 September 2021 the MoC will then either approve these agreements, subject to any changes it may deem necessary, or set out the terms of a binding agreement itself, if none have been submitted. With these agreements to become part of what will be known as the ‘shelf offering’ of the infrastructure owner, they will apply to all applicants for access, and if an infrastructure owner has published more than one such agreement, each access applicant will be able to opt to sign up to any of these ‘without discrimination’.
Subsequently, between 20 September and 20 December there will be an ‘adjustment period’ during which infrastructure companies and access applicants will submit their KPIs to the MoC each month. While the ministry can extend this adjustment period by an additional trimester, at its end there will then be a three-month ‘preparation period’ in which ‘the liquidated damages mechanism will also be activated’. Finally, at the end of the preparation period on 20 March 2022 – assuming there have been no extensions to previous stages of the process) – the prohibition on infrastructure suppliers offering internet access services to residential users will officially come to an end. From that date – known as the ‘Determining Date’ – all residential fixed broadband customers will then only be able to sign up for an all-in-one broadband service (i.e. one comprising both the infrastructure and access elements), though existing subscribers on a ‘split configuration’ service will be permitted to continue on that.
Bezeq noted, meanwhile, that the concessions held by infrastructure owners will be modified so as to allow them to provide internet access service from the Determining Date, though such modifications will be subject to a hearing.