Israel’s MoC publishes first tender for fibre rollout in economically unprofitable areas

14 Oct 2021

Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has published the first tender for the deployment of fibre-optic infrastructure in those areas of the country that are not expected to be reached with commercial rollouts. At the same time, the regulator has also confirmed that it will require those companies that win the tender to provide rival providers with a wholesale service on any infrastructure that they construct.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in September 2020 the government approved a plan put forward by an inter-ministerial team for the deployment of ‘ultra-fast’ broadband services, including the provision to conduct tenders designed to subsidise the deployment of fibre by Bezeq’s competitors in those areas where the fixed line incumbent had chosen not to install infrastructure. In these ‘Incentive Areas’, deployments will be subsidised via an ‘Incentive Fund’, which will be funded through an additional 0.5% tax levied on the revenues of all Israeli communications licence holders whose turnover exceeds ILS10 million (USD3 million).

Now, in a press release announcing the start of the tender the MoC noted that bidders will be required to specify which of the 244 Incentive Areas they wish to cover, while also confirming the amount of money they are requesting from the fund to carry out their rollouts. According to the regulator, the lowest bids for each area will receive the grant, and in the first tender grants of between ILS80 million and ILS90 million are expected to be awarded.