Israel racing towards NextGen Internet by Benji Lovitt


If you’ve learned anything from reading this site, hopefully it’s that size doesn’t matter.  Or put a different way, good things sometimes come in small packages.  But here’s a little secret, a different way of saying the same thing:  when size does matter, it often matters in ways you wouldn’t expect, favoring the little guy.

We’ve already talked extensively about Better Place, the Israeli company which is about to rock our worlds by delivering a network of charging stations to power the next generation of electric cars.  Just days ago, these cars went live in Israel.  Israel of course is the perfect breeding ground for this kind of experiment.  Its tiny size is exactly what makes it so conducive to rolling out something en masse.  When this young country does lag behind the rest of the first world in something, it’s able to catch up and adapt much more quickly than a larger nation.

(Here comes the segue….everyone ready?)

Seems that over the last several years, Israel’s internet speed has lagged behind much of the Western world’s with speeds too slow to match their “start-up nation” status.  That’s about to change.  The national electric company is preparing to rollout a massive new network with the highest-speed internet available today, boosting connections by a factor of between ten and (wait for it) one hundred times the current speeds.

According to one of the company’s senior management team, “All the developing countries that have a vision for 10 years ahead, or 20 years ahead, understand that the name of the game will be communications, broadband communications, very fast communications.”  Ironically, most of these countries have the internet but not the cutting-edge technology.  Israel has the latter and is about to have both.

This broadband internet connection is achieved with technology called “fiber to the home”, a fiber optic cable connection which can deliver a significantly higher amount of bandwidth of various types (data, video, phone) than the old-school copper coaxial connection.  Not only are connections much faster but the price is the same, allowing for dramatic breakthroughs in how we use technology in our daily lives and jobs.

Consider the possibilities:  poor quality (or non-existent) videoconferencing, no longer a problem.  Doctors’ ability to monitor their patients in real time or assist with medical procedures remotely.   Heard of this “cloud” that everyone’s talking about?  No longer will we be tied to our laptops or home computers.  In the time you’re reading this article (or sentence), massive amounts of data and files can be transferred to the cloud for easy access anywhere.  And we haven’t even talked about HD movie rentals yet.  (Ok, ok, maybe that’s a bit less important.)

There is no question that if all the technology Israel prides itself on is the vehicle to drive into the front of the technology world, internet speed is the key (I almost wrote “gasoline” but that’s so 20th century, right, Better Place?)

With more than 90% of its population living in urban areas, Israel is well positioned for a speedy rollout of this new service with the majority of the country prepared to receive the new connection speed within seven years.  Buckle your seatbelts, it’s going to be a fast ride!