Palestinian Authority to connect to Jordan via optic cable

Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel seeks to direct its international traffic via Jordan rather than via Israel.

The Palestinian Authority is on the way to detaching itself from Israel when it comes to international calls and Internet, "Globes" has learned. Within a few months, Paltel, the Palestinian telecommunications company, will connect to an optic cable from Jerusalem to Jordan, via which it intends to transmit its international traffic.

Paltel CTO Ali Ibrahim told "Globes" at The Mobile World Congress that the connection to Jordan would be through the company laying the connecting cable. It has been reported in "Globes" in the past that the cable was owned by Avi Alkalai, former CEO of Med Nautilus, and Avi Teitelman, a consultant to Paltel in the past who formerly served as engineering and licensing deputy director general at the Ministry of Communications.

According to Ibrahim, the cable is being laid with the necessary permits and in an orderly fashion, and he foresees no problems that will prevent it from being operated. This is despite that fact that, under Israeli law, Paltel, like carriers in Israel, is obliged to connect overseas through international carriers from Israel.

Paltel buys capacity from three Israeli Internet companies, but, according to Ibrahim, it does not receive good service, and so wants an independent connection via Jordan to Akaba, and to connect to one of the international cables that link up to Jordan. He says that the connection via Jordan to ne of the international undersea cable networks will bring down the price of Internet service in the Palestinian Authority, and create competition for the Israeli carriers. However, it seems that Paltel mainly aims to detach itself as much as possible from the Israeli carriers, and to manage its international connections independently.

Ibrahim added that the cable will be backed by a microwave connection, via equipment Paltel bought from Alcatel-Lucent, its main supplier of switching and relay equipment. It remains to be seen whether the microwave connection will be viewed positively by the Minister of Defense and the Civilian Administration, since, according to sources familiar with the matter, a wireless connection will require a permit from Israel.

The writer is a guest of Alcatel-Lucent at the Mobile World Congress.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 16, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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