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Israel Electric Plans to Offer FTTH as the Nation Remains at the Forefront of Technology Innovation

January 27, 2012

Israel Electric Plans to Offer FTTH as the Nation Remains at the Forefront of Technology Innovation

By Ed Silverstein
TMCnet Contributor

The Holy Land is also likely to become the land of super-fast Internet connections, as it adopts a technology called "fiber to the home" (FTTH).

Israel Electric Corp, a state-owned electric company, plans to offer a cutting-edge, high-speed broadband network to the entire nation, which is about the size of New Jersey. Because the country is relatively small and has some dense population centers, Israel Electric is predicting Israel will jump to the “forefront of the next generation of Internet technology,” according to a report from The Associated Press.

Israel is looking ahead by opting for fiber-optic lines that will likely provide connections that are 10 to 100 times faster than more traditional methods, The AP said. "All the developing countries that have a vision for 10 years ahead, or 20 years ahead, understand that the name of the game will be communications, broadband communications, very fast communications," Tzvi Harpak, Israel Electric’s senior vice president for logistics, said in a statement made to The AP and carried by TMCnet.

Israel expects that 10 percent of the nation will be wired for the new technology by 2013, and two-thirds of the nation will be wired within seven years, The AP said.

Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, said FTTH will be the "gold standard" of “the next generation of broadband service,” The AP reported. The improved technology will lead to applications in such areas as videoconferences, medical surgery, and in cloud computing. It will also lead to increased chance for economic success, The AP said.

"Everyone feels that bandwidth will be this commodity down the road. If you don't have it, you'll be out of luck," David St. John, spokesman for the FTTH Council, told The AP.

South Korea now leads the world with FTTH technology, followed by Japan and Hong Kong. About 7.1 million homes in the United States, representing 6.6 percent of the total residences, use FTTH, The AP said. An example is FiOS (News - Alert) from Verizon. Israel now uses mostly DSL and cable for connections.

Among the companies interested in installing the new technology in Israel are: Telecom Italia (News - Alert) SpA and BT Group PLC, as well as Israel-based firms Elbit Systems, Rapac Communication & Infrastructure, and Tamares, The AP said.

"There's been quite a lot of interest," Philippe Guez, managing director at Rothschild, the financial adviser on the project, told The AP. "We believe and hope the government and the Israel Electric Corp. will make the appropriate changes in order to make this wonderful project happen."

Given that Israel is considered a major technology center, the adaption of FTTH not just for major technology companies but for everyday folks is not a surprise. "Providing high-quality, fiber-to-the-home bandwidth for consumers all over Israel (especially in peripheral areas) is a national interest as it promotes economic growth, education, provision of government services, social welfare," Eden Bar-Tal, director general of Israel's Communications Ministry, told The AP.

Israel Electric traces its roots to 1923, when it was started as The Electric Company for Palestine. It has 2.4 million customers, according to data cited by Yahoo Business.

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Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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