updated 08:50 pm EST, Fri January 27, 2012
Israel joins Australia with national fiber
Israel has followed Australian footsteps in planning its own national broadband network. The country's Israel Electric Corporation plans a purely fiber-based network that will supply many of the country's homes with at least 100Mbps speeds. They picked fiber with the intention to scale and could theoretically hit 1Gbps in time.
Some of the expansion would be made possible by using the power company's existing overhead wiring infrastructure to save time instead of burying underground. Private companies were being asked for bids of at least $75 million before January 31 to help deploy the network in return for a slight majority stake of 51 percent.
Just 10 percent of the country should be mapped by 2013, IEC said, but its plans will have two thirds covered by 2019.
As with the Australian buildout, the goal is to catch up to and eventually leapfrog countries with some of the fastest Internet access available. It might not catch up to densely populated, technology-first countries like Japan or South Korea, where it's easier to cover most of the population with fiber, but it could eclipse the US and other countries where sparser populations and corporate resistance to public deployments can keep the average speed down.
Israel does have a vested interest in courting American companies by promising high speed Internet access to local workers. Intel, Microsoft, and now Apple consider Israel their Eastern technology center. Reshaping the country into a clear technology hub could help win business that would normally go to Europe. [via The Australian]