The Communications Ministry last week issued a change in its licensing policy for new operators seeking to provide a high-speed broadband Internet access infrastructure service.
The ministry said it would reduce the barriers faced by small companies that want to provide the service, thus opening up an entirely new area of competition in the communications market – local distribution of advanced technology. The ministry expected the move to significantly accelerate the deployment of advanced infrastructure in small localities in the Judea and Samaria settlements as well as in the periphery communities, rural areas, and low-construction areas that have not been connected to ultra-fast Internet infrastructure so far.
But on Monday night, Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (Derech Eretz) claimed that his ministry’s initiative was being blocked by Finance Minister Israel Katz (Likud).
“The Finance Minister is blocking a law that would provide high-speed internet to the periphery,” Hendel tweeted. “In the name of trying to get a delusional budget for only one week, half the country is getting stuck.”
The Communications Minister added, “I don’t care who the Israelis who live in the periphery vote for, they should not suffer from the dysfunction of the Finance Minister and the Ministerial Legislation Committee. They deserve a functioning communication infrastructure. Even in a political crisis, we need to deal with issues practically.”
Katz later tweeted a response to Hendel’s remarks which all but confirmed the Communications Minister’s accusations, informing him that his legislative move would not happen:
“The Communications Minister from the Blue&White bloc (Hendel has left Gantz’s party months ago – DI) wants to promote just one of the regulation laws that I initiated, while the bloc to which he belongs is stopping the enactment of the most important laws promoting reforms and economic growth. I made it clear to him that this was not going to happen.”
Katz concluded with a burn: “And as for the promotion of the periphery? When I was connecting the Galilee and the Negev to the country’s center, he (Hendel) was still busy shopping for a party.”
Meanwhile, if you’re reading this on your computer screen in, say, Efrat, in Gush Etzion, it’s probably done downloading by now…