On Wednesday, March 7, the Israel Antitrust Authority slapped a NIS 30 million (US$8.2 million) fine on Israeli telecom company Bezeq, claiming that it had unfairly used its size and influence to engage in anti-competitive practices.
According to the Times of Israel, Bezeq’s CEO Stella Handler, who is under house arrest in connection with the Elovitch-Netanyahu corruption case, known as Case 4000, is looking at a fine of NIS 700,000 (US$202,000) for her part in the company’s allegedly abusive policy.
A few years ago the Communications Ministry decided that Bezeq should open its countrywide network of pipes, pillars and other infrastructure to competitors to save them the bureaucracy, high costs and huge disruption to the public of having to excavate to create their own networks underground. But according to rivals Cellcom and Partner, Bezeq was uncooperative.
It allowed rivals to use its pipes, but only on public land, keeping them from linking up to individual buildings. This forced competitors to waste time and money requesting permits from local authorities and permission from homeowners associations to carry out costly excavation works.
A statement from Bezeq said the findings were “fundamentally wrong” and charged that it had already shown the Antitrust Authority that all of its activities were carried out according to the law and the instructions of the Ministry of Communications.
Full Content: Times of Israel