I’m working on a television script and having a category dilemma: it could be an Apprentice-like reality show or just as easily be a drama about double-dealing business partners. Meanwhile, a similar story is playing out just outside of my living room window.
From that window, I can see a utility pole and on it sits about 10 meters of coiled fiber optic cable that is ready to deliver untold internet riches at unlimited speed and unlimited freedom. But while the cable has been there for months, no one seems in a hurry to stretch it the last mile, as they say. In telecommunications jargon, it’s called FttB, or Fiber to the Building, but across Israel, it’s not getting ttB. I’ve been wondering why.
My suspicions were confirmed today with reports in the Israel business press that the partnership behind the country’s largest telecoms venture is falling apart. Global giant Cisco and its Swedish partner are running the project, with local companies standing on the sidelines waiting to get in the game. Apparently, in classic Levantine style, BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. and Rapac Communication and Infrastructure Ltd. are not happy with the terms previously agreed to, leaving lots of cable rolled up and hanging from utility poles all over the Promised Land.
It’s not so long ago that another massive infrastructure failed and few lessons were learned in the Better Place debacle. In the best Hollywood tradition, my script will have a happy ending. I only wish the same could be said of what’s outside my window.