Israel Lags on Internet Speeds
August 13, 2018
The Times of Israel – The Startup Nation has slow internet, and it’s a serious problem.
As more things become connected to the internet — from smart cars to smart homes, fridges, and TVs — faster internet speeds are needed for their use to be efficient.
“Speed means opportunities,” says Oleg Brodt, chief innovation officer of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Cyber@BGU and the director of research and development for Deutsche Telekom Innovation Labs at BGU.
Users are moving to the cloud to perform their calculations and store their data, and to do that they need high internet speeds.
“Without the necessary speeds, the whole cloud economy gets hit,” explains Brodt. This also effects the autonomous car revolution, since these vehicles need high-speed internet so they can transmit data to the car’s operators.
“As a country, we shouldn’t be in a situation in which we cannot be ready for these revolutions,” he says.
In addition, because of slow internet speeds, Israel’s startup industry has not been able to jump onto the internet streaming bandwagon, like Sweden’s Spotify technology and the U.S.’s Netflix and YouTube.
Another major issue that is contributing to the slow internet speed in Israel is the lack of competition in the market. This means there is little incentive for the only two major suppliers to invest in costly infrastructure, resulting in Israelis not having the speed they need in a world that is becoming increasingly digitalized.
“More competition in the internet market will lead to better services,” says Brodt. “If it doesn’t happen, it will be very unfortunate; we will find ourselves falling behind more and more.”
Besides upgrading the current infrastructure, internet speeds could be boosted through the use of other technologies, such as the implementation of fifth-generation wireless networks (5G), which promise to greatly increase the speed, degree of coverage and responsiveness of wireless networks, he explains.
“But, even with this we are behind,” Brodt says. South Korea is already planning to launch 5G service in March 2019, while in the U.S. and in European countries, it is expected to take off sometime in 2020.
“In Israel we are only now talking about 5G.”