Internet reform to see merger of ISP, infrastructure subscriptions

Starting in 2022, home internet consumers will pay just one company for access; communications minister: No more bouncing between companies for tech support

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Yoaz Hendel speaks at a conference in Ramat Gan on September 8, 2019. (Flash90)
Yoaz Hendel speaks at a conference in Ramat Gan on September 8, 2019. (Flash90)

Israeli home internet consumers will no longer have to grapple with the complexities of service providers and infrastructures just to get themselves online after a new Communications Ministry reform is implemented.

Starting at the beginning of 2022, Israelis will only subscribe to one company for an internet plan, as the split between ISPs and internet infrastructure will be annulled.

The decision came a week after Israel swore in a new government after over two years of political crisis. “This is one of the first decisions because of its impact on the pockets of Israeli citizens,” Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said in a statement Sunday.

Until now, consumers had to pay for both an ISP subscription and a monthly fee to one of the internet infrastructure companies. In some cases, ISPs would offer a bundle of both infrastructure and service, but this was not mandatory. In addition, it was not always clear who was responsible when technical problems occurred.

Hendel said this was another main reason for approving the reform, to prevent “the bouncing of consumers between companies in cases of malfunction.

“The new structure of the internet market will allow consumers to enjoy quality services, and at the same time will promote the market in a way that will ensure competition,” said Liran Avisar Ben-Horin, director general of the ministry.

Communications Ministry Director General Liran Avisar Ben-Horin (Courtesy)

She added that the split had led to a large number of dormant subscribers, as some consumers had moved companies but did not cancel their previous ISP or infrastructure payments, and continued to pay needlessly.

The country has four main infrastructure companies: Bezeq, HOT, Partner, and Unlimited.

There are some 50 ISPs in the country, some of which are subsidiaries of the internet infrastructure companies.

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