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Internet speed in Israel: Is it fast?  | TCS Israel

Does Israel Have Fast Internet?

High-speed internet is essential to any modern economy and is becoming one of the criteria for evaluating a country’s economic infrastructure. To compete in the modern global economy and attract major foreign investment, you need high-speed internet as a basic norm. 

Internet speed in Israel is a subject that generates a mass of newspaper articles and consumer interest. There’s a widespread perception that the average internet speed in Israel is well below the speeds claimed by the major internet providers. There’s no doubt that Israel has fast internet; the main question is how it compares to other advanced economies - and if people are receiving the bandwidth they are being billed for every month. 

We’ll take a closer look at the reality of internet speed in Israel for ordinary users and whether fiber optic internet speed in Israel is as impressive as the major service providers like to claim. Our level of access to high-speed internet directly affects our quality of life. As the cost of living in Israel continues to rise, we need to know if we’re getting value for money!

Internet Speed in Israel - A Caveat

American writer Mark Twain attributed the classic phrase “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” to Britain's 19th-century Jewish Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Whatever the origin, it’s as good today as it was in the 1800s. Published statistics about the average internet speed in Israel should be viewed with caution. Even if the figures are correct (and up to date), they may not reflect the typical user experience. 

A minority of business users with the latest super-fast broadband packages can easily skew the average figures. Fiber optic internet speed in Israel is already a game changer when calculating the averages.  Live in a small rural community away from the major population centers. Your day-to-day download speed for movies/games and upload speed for video conferencing will probably be very different from the CEO of a high-tech company in Herzliya Pituach. 

Internet speed in Israel can vary dramatically. The country still has some problematic areas when it comes to coverage and availability. HOT Israel attracted controversy for apparently failing to meet its contractual obligations. Critics of the company complained that it failed to provide services to some Haredi and Israeli Arab areas and neglected communities in the Arava. 

HOT subsequently lobbied the Ministry of Communications for contractual exemptions. The company seemed to think that meeting 95-98% of its legal obligations to Israeli consumers was ‘good enough.  What Moshavniks in the Arava or residents of other low priority (i.e. less profitable) areas thought of that assessment is another matter. Internet speed in Israel quickly becomes a political issue.

Internet in Israel in 2022 - A Brief Overview

There is a core of major companies providing the Internet in Israel.  Israelis officially enjoy consumer choice, but the big telecom companies operate as a loose cartel. You can switch service providers with varying degrees of hassle and inconvenience, but you’re unlikely to find a substantially better deal. Most companies offer a comparable range of Mb and Gb packages inside a standard price framework. 

The Top 3 Internet Providers in Israel 

The big three internet providers in Israel dominate the market. 

  • Bezeq
  • Partner
  • HOT

The big companies are well established and usually provide a wider range of telecom services like mobile phone deals and cable or satellite TV channels. They have recognized brand names in Israel and face a few real market challenges - new competitors or additional government oversight. 

Average internet speed in Israel is defined to a large extent by the framework of deals offered by the big companies. Typical package ranges are:

  • 100 - 300 MB 
  • 500 or 600 MB 
  • 1 GB plus
  • Proprietary fiber or internet TV deals

Fiber optic internet speed in Israel is more likely to be consistent and match the specifications quoted in your contract. Non-fiber broadband speed is less reliable and is still subject to peak hour disruption. This occurs during certain hours of the day - usually between 7 pm and midnight - when there is a surge in online activity. If it suddenly feels like your download speed for movies and games has dipped, it may not be your imagination…

Problems relating to internet speed are not unique to Israel. Israeli companies can be ruthlessly aggressive and display shameless chutzpah regarding service standards. Many will break the law without hesitation if they think they can escape it. Foreign telecom companies are usually more subtle when ripping off consumers but are equally machiavellian. 

A common trick is to specify in the contract small print that the quoted Mb or Gb is the maximum the company will provide. You naively assume that your high-speed broadband deal delivers a consistent 500Mb or 600Mb when you’re getting considerably less. 

Israel Internet Speed - Take it or Leave it

Internet companies rely on customers not checking their internet speeds. They know from experience that the minority who do check usually won’t have the time and patience to pursue complaints via company call centers. All the average internet user can cancel their contract and sign up with a similar company. Bezeq's speed and prices are in the same range as Partner, who balance their home internet packages against those offered by HOT, etc.

Many ISPs worldwide still use a practice known as ‘throttling’ to reduce internet speeds when they detect certain online activity like torrenting. If you’re downloading music or a TV series overnight, it’s possibly not a big disruption if your internet provider throttles your bandwidth a little. If you’re using the internet in real-time, it’s a major nuisance. Either way, it’s an egregious violation of your rights as a consumer.

If you notice that your upload speed for video conferencing is not consistently high, or you are having issues with the download speed for movies and online games, there is a solution. A simple online speed test can tell you how fast your internet is. There are plenty of websites offering free speed tests. It’s a quick process, and we recommend using two or three-speed tests to get a clearer picture. 

Once you know your internet speed, you can use a VPN for a control test. If you have a faster connection when the VPN hides your online activity, the chances are that your connection is being throttled. It may be worth checking out VPNs for daily use if you depend on high-speed internet for certain activities. It may be a lot simpler than trying to complain to your internet provider - and can also bring additional security and privacy benefits. 

Does Israel's Internet Speed Compare to US and UK Internet Speed?

Israel's internet speed falls midway between average US and UK internet speeds, although the three countries are profoundly different in size, population, and urban/rural balance. As usual, the statistics should be viewed with a certain amount of caution. 

Israel Internet Speed vs the Anglosphere

Israel ranks neatly in the middle of the world’s major English-speaking countries (all of whom rank far behind Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong). Singapore averages 245.5 Mb* and is closely followed by its two East Asian rivals.  The average internet speed in Israel is just 147.36 Mbit/s.

  1. United States - 191.97 MB
  2. Canada  - 175.61 MB
  3. New Zealand - 153.88 MB
  4. Israel  - 147.36 MB
  5. Ireland - 112.81 MB 
  6. United Kingdom - 92.63 MB
  7. Australia  - 77. 88 MB

You might get more bandwidth in Israel if you made Aliyah from Australia, Ireland, or Britain. Factor in a few little details like the cost of monthly packages, the cost of living, and average national salaries. It all boils down to one thing: It’s better to be an internet provider than an internet consumer…

In theory, Israel should be up there with Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Israel is a small country with a population of just 9.5 million people. It has a world-renowned high-tech sector. The government is firmly behind the effort to roll out the national fiber infrastructure and transform fiber optic internet speed in Israel. It’s disappointing that Israel lags behind many comparable OECD countries.

*Ookla, the creator of Speedtest, calculates rankings.   

Which Company Provides the Highest Internet Speed in Israel?

The simple reality is that the major internet providers in Israel are operating on the same playing field. Determining which company provides the fastest internet or the best prices is futile. Some people feel that Bezeq's speed is slightly superior to other companies. Still, there’s currently no reliable metric to calculate average Bezeq speed compared to average Partner speed or HOT speed. 

If you’re making Aliyah and need to find an internet provider, or you’re looking for a better deal with a new provider, there are only three criteria that you need to consider:

  1. How much bandwidth do I need?
  2. What standard of customer service does each internet company provide? 
  3. Can I get other telecom services from the same provider and consolidate my billing for an easier life?

Most people overestimate the amount of bandwidth that they require. If you’re a single Oleh and not heavily into online gaming and streaming, you can probably get by on 200Mb and save yourself some money. If you’re living with roommates or have a family with teenagers, 600Mb might be a more realistic starting point. 

Customer Service vs Internet Speed

More than any other factor, the standard of customer service will influence how smart Israeli consumers choose their internet provider. Most Israeli companies have a lousy attitude towards customer service. Even the companies that aim for US and Western European standards struggle to find and retain professional customer support staff. It’s a cultural problem that may take another generation to overcome. 

You can cross HOT off your list if you care about receiving quality customer service. They have an appalling reputation for exploiting and mistreating customers, and the company previously faced legal action for dishonest retention practices.  Despite some recent improvements, they are still best avoided. Partner and Bezeq are about average by Israeli standards. Expect a frustrating experience if you contact their call centers and additional hassles if you’re not fluent in Hebrew. 

Consolidate Your Internet, Phone, and TV Services

If you think dealing with service providers in the US, Canada, or the UK is annoying, you can multiply the stress factor by about a hundred in Israel. Many Anglos in Israel quickly realize it’s much easier to consolidate and get all their telecom services from a single supplier. The advantage is that you’ll receive one set of monthly billing and will have a single point of contact if there is a problem. 

TCS is coming to the rescue of frustrated Anglos and offering a unique English-language telecom service. The company is based in Jerusalem and is owned and run by English-speaking Olim. You can sign up for a range of fiber internet and high-speed broadband deals, mobile and landline packages, and cable or satellite TV services. You can sign up for HOT internet or TV, Bezeq, YES, and some sophisticated phone deals with second foreign numbers. 

Whatever service, or bundle of services you choose, you’ll only ever deal with TCS. That means English language contracts and bills, customer service reps, native English speakers, and real customer service delivered by trained professionals. If you already have an account with other companies, contact TCS, and they’ll switch your account. You won’t have to contact Israeli customer services to make the change to TCS!

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