If 2012 was the year of the cellphone revolution, 2014 is shaping up to be the year when the broadband Internet market was shaken up.
- Broadband reform could cost Bezeq up to 600,000 customers
- IEC workers’ shocking power play for shares in new Israeli broadband firm IBC
- Government planning to sell shares in 19 firms, including Israel Electric
Another sign of this came yesterday when Israel Broadband Company, the joint venture between Israel Electric Corporation and a group led by Sweden’s ViaEuropa, launched its new superfast Internet service under the brand name Unlimited. The new service will create a formable new competitor to a market now controlled by Bezeq and Hot Telecom.
IBC will offer speeds of 100 megabits per second, or as much as 100 times faster than what is currently available in Israel, for between 115 and 125 shekels ($33 and $36) a month, including cabling and an Internet service provider package.
Small and medium-sized businesses will be offered 1-gigabit packages for between 400 and 500 shekels. The speed both uploading and downloading will be equally fast, enabling users to take advantage of such things as software as a service package, said Jonas Birgersson, ViaEuropa’s chairman.
“I believe that networks like these are no less important, perhaps even more important than traditional communications networks, to reduce social gaps between the center and the periphery of Israel,” said Communications Minister Gilad Erdan at the news conference. “The addition of new infrastructure companies to the market is the key to creating competition for Bezeq and Hot.”
The service will be available first in one of the cities of the periphery, probably either Kiryat Shmona and Be’er Sheva, in a month’s time. After that Unlimited will be rolled out in the greater Tel Aviv area.IBC CEO Danny Lauber told a news conference that customers will be able to connect or disconnect to the new service through the company’s online portals, without calling customer service.
About 11 telecommunications companies, including mobile companies Golan Telecom and YouPhone, have already signed cooperative agreements with IBD, the company said. But it noted that two of the biggest, Cellcom Israel and Partner Communication, have not.