RealTime IT News

Wireless Internet Planned for Israel

The Israeli government is working to bring wireless Internet services to the country by forming a committee to allocate licenses for wireless bandwidth communications.

The Central Tender Committee will allocate a limited number of licenses to industries dealing with wireless bandwidth communication in LMDS (Local Multipoint Distribution Services) technologies.

LMDS Communications is a wireless alternative to frame relay and p-t-p. This technology is suitable for large corporations seeking to connect all their computers, as well as transfer video and have Internet access.

The committee will also determine tender regulations, to be published at a later date, for providing wireless communication services in WLL technologies, thus enabling the public at large to have access to the Internet through their mobile phones and palmtop computers. In Israel, WLL frequencies are usually employed by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), making penetration of this technology into Israel difficult.

LMDS is a relatively new technology. Analyst Avi Weiss estimates that a combination of audio and communication data will be the most sought-after product within LMDS hookups. The significance of LMDS hookups between branches of the same company, as Weiss stated, is that all the telephone calls between the branches are carried out within an internal wireless hookup network without any meter charges:

"WLL networks, combined with LMDS networks, are without a doubt an interesting substitute for the services Bezek, the Israeli Communications Company, provides," he said.

In response, Bezek has within the last few months publicized special offers for frame relay and sifranet and next month will offer to sell ISDN hookups at half price.

LMDS communication operators will be able to provide enough bandwidth to allow the transfer of data at speeds of up to 50 mega per second, from one transmission antenna to tens of subscribers at a range of up to 5 to 6 kilometers from the antenna. A total of four licenses will be granted to LMDS connection providers.

Companies wishing to participate in the tender, said Weiss, will have to provide coverage for about a third of the country, pay license fees, be experienced, without any crossing ownerships and more.

New Bridge, represented by TNN, has announced its intention to participate in the tender. Cellcom, one of Israel's largest mobile communication providers, in cooperation with Nortel Networks, has already announced it will ask for a license.

LMDS hookups rates have yet to be determined. These rates will be the deciding factor as to whether Israeli corporations will give up Bezek's frame relay hookups for LMDS, said Weiss.