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Israel plots gigabit fibre-to-home rollout

Seven years, 25,000 km of fibre

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The Israeli government, via state-owned electricity utility Israel Electric Corp (IEC), is taking tentative steps towards deploying a gigabit-capable fibre-to-the-home network it hopes will cover two-thirds of the country.

Having tasked IEC with managing the rollout earlier this year, the government has now announced that Viaeuropa is its favoured bidder. It says the Swedish company’s bid will be analysed over the next month in the hope of kicking off the seven-year project early in 2013.

According to Reuters, the project is running behind time as it struggled to attract participants, in spite of the “multi-billion” shekel (at current exchange rates a shekel is about a quarter of a US dollar) value of the project. In the end, the consortium likely to build the network will be half-owned by Viaeuropa, with Rapac Communications, BATM Advanced Communications, and two other companies each to hold 12.5 percent of the project.

The deployment will involve 25,000 km of fibre cable, mostly to extend BATM’s current fibre-to-the-cabinet network to homes. Most of the new deployment will be overhead to save on costs, and it’s expected to be completed by 2020.

When finished, the network will upgrade Israel’s current services – 100 Mbps down but uploads typically in the 1-1.5 Mbps range – to symmetrical gigabit capability. As IEC’s chairman, Yiftach Ron-Tal, put it, the venture will “put Israel on a par with developed countries.” ®

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