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Israel set to ease demands on Bezeq’s fire up the fibre optic plan

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel is ready and willing to take the ease-of-use and the requirements that had been made in Bezeq Israel Telecom, is to rescue the plans for a national fibre-optic network, the Communications Ministry said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: the logo of The Bezeq the Israeli Telecommunication Corp. Ltd., the country’s largest telecoms group, is seen outside their headquarters in Tel-Aviv, Israel, June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

Bezeq, Israel’s leading fixed-line operator, has said that it will not be able to cover the costs of laying fiber to some of the rural areas, resulting in plans for a national network in a country that prides itself as a hub for technology and software development.

Under the new proposal, instead of requiring Bezeq to build a fiber-optic network across the country, is the compliance officer of the company, and the opportunity to choose where he will roll out of its network, the ministry said.

In the areas in which Bezeq is not in the build-up of a network of smaller competitors are able to offer to the business, the ministry said, adding that the fund, with the money raised from the revenue of the telecom operators would be the support for the roll-out in those areas.

The ministry said that the changes in the regulatory environment should encourage “a broad-based and nationwide deployment of an advanced communications infrastructure, which will provide you with a wide variety of products, and to contribute to Israel’s economy.”

Bezeq, said that the review of the proposals, could get a boost from the initiative, after the former telecoms monopoly, has seen its shares lose a third of their value so far this year to trade at around 20-year lows.

The company has been struggling to compete with smaller competitors, has been locked in a row with the regulator over its plans for restructuring, of which Bezeq said it will help to reduce costs.

“We expect that the essence of the statement, stick to it, thereby paving the way for Bezeq to set up on their network, and the speed of its fibre-to-the-home deployment,” said Barclays analyst Tavy Rosner.

About 60% of Israel is already connected to Bezeq’s fibre-optic network, but the company has yet to start it.

Cellcom and ner Communications have the smaller networks, up to 20% of the housing units, but they have already started with the provision of the service to the public.

The ministry said that the publication of the complete proposed regulations for public review on the website.

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Edmund Blair

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