Sources inform ''Globes'' that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan have asked Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) CEO John Chambers to shorten the timetable for the fiber optic venture.
Chambers promised to consider the matter, and asked in exchange for Israel to shorten the time for obtaining the license so that work on the project can begin as soon as possible. Erdan promised that the license would be issued within 2-3 weeks of the filing of the application.
According to the terms in the provisional license, the fiber optic venture must reach 65% of Israeli households within seven years. During the venture's first four years, it will be allowed to deploy its infrastructures wherever it decides, after which it must deploy them in the periphery and in central Israel simultaneously. In other words, any deployment in central Israel must be matched in the periphery. Nationwide deployment must be completed within 20 years. These conditions were reached after many discussions and compromises with the tender winner, ViaEuropa AB, as well as with the companies which did not win the tender. It therefore appears to be very difficult to make any major changes in these conditions because they could be grounds for legal challenges by the losers in the tender.
The government will therefore probably try to create a path for the venture to deploy fiber optics with a minimum of delays and permits from local authorities.
Erdan met Chambers after Chambers met Netanyahu. At the meeting, which was held together with professional teams, Erdan promised to help shorten as much as possible the bureaucratic procedures ninvolved in the infrastructures work.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 23, 2013
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