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September 5, 2019 10:38 am

Israel’s Bezeq Telecom Fined for Blocking Rivals’ Fiber Networks

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

The logo of Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecom group, is seen outside its headquarters in Tel Aviv, June 21, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen / File.

Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecoms group, has been fined 30 million shekels ($8.6 million) for what the competition regulator said was an “abuse of the firm’s monopolistic position” in telecommunications infrastructure.

The antitrust authority also imposed a financial penalty of 500,000 shekels on a senior Bezeq official and said on Wednesday it intended to levy a further 8 million shekel fine on Bezeq for misinformation during the authority’s investigation.

The regulator said Bezeq blocked competitors from deploying wired communications networks using the company’s infrastructure, which “could adversely affect the development of competition in the supply of internet, television and wired telecoms services.”

Bezeq declined to comment.

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Israel’s telecoms regulator in 2012 created a wholesale market that required Bezeq to allow smaller rivals Cellcom and Partner Communications to use its network — the only one in Israel that reaches almost every home.

The antitrust authority noted that Cellcom and Partner were deploying an independent fiber optics network in Israel that would compete with Bezeq.

“Inquiries to Bezeq from companies like Cellcom and Partner seeking to use Bezel’s … infrastructure to deploy independent wired networks have faced many difficulties and delays,” the authority said, adding that the firms have incurred extra costs.

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