Palestine Infrastructure Overview
Despite the obstacles of the Israeli occupation, Palestine continues to experience rapid population growth and economic growth. Electricity peak demand is expected to increase from 1,200 MW as of 2016 up to 2,000 MW by 2020, entailing an annual compounded growth rate of 11%.
Currently, the Palestinian electricity sector suffers the highly adverse impact of infrastructure under-investment to meet its current & forecasted electricity needs. The imposed restriction of development in ‘’Area C’’ which constitutes more than 60% of the West Bank prohibits the Palestinian scattered population centers from being connected under one consolidated electricity network with a high voltage backbone. The outcome of these restrictions is a persistent & highly impeding dependence on Israel, from whom Palestine currently imports around 90% of its electricity needs.
The Israeli Electricity Corporation (IEC) supplies more than 99% of the West Bank’s electricity demand and more than 65% of Gaza’s demand. The IEC’s electricity supply to the West Bank is carried out through numerous and independent fragmented connection points resulting in high technical losses and structural inefficiencies.
The status quo – marked by high dependence on Israel and underdeveloped Palestinian electricity infrastructure – manifests in severe power shortages (up to 50% in Gaza), massive electricity losses (around 25%, compared to 3% in Israel), and a resulting state fragility from the dearth of revenue which is considered vital for further sector development.
To that end, the Palestinian electricity sector is in dire need of reform and development. The government’s ongoing obstinate efforts to restructure the electricity sector must be coupled with large-scale generation and renovation projects throughout the West Bank and Gaza, thus enabling Palestine to overcome its electricity and power challenges and paving the way for an energy independent future Palestinian state.
Broadband contributes to economic growth in countries that have a higher adoption of the technology and has a significant social impact. According to the International Telecommunication Union, though Palestine has a high percentage of individuals using the Internet (61.2% compared to 45.9% globally), it has limited fixed-broadband penetration where the percentage of fixed-broadband subscribers is only 6.9% compared to 12.4% globally.
Palestinian fixed broadband is characterized by an average speed ranging from 2Mbps to 8Mbps, high latency, and limited upload speeds, which is way below global average of broadband speeds of 40Mbps. This is due to legacy dominant DSL technologies currently used.
This highlights the importance of fiber deployment in order to meet the need for speed in the future. High speed broadband has the potential for higher revenues and lower costs for businesses and consumers alike, due to higher productivity and efficiency, and access to information and markets which are no longer restricted geographically.
With fast broadband networks it would be possible to scale public interest programs of (e.g. e-health and e-education) and enable private sector innovation