Israel Electric Corp (IEC) has received four bids for a super-fast fiber optic Internet network aimed at upgrading the country’s telecoms landscape.

A Reuters article named Sweden’s Viaeurope, Elbit Systems, BATM Advanced Communications and RAPAC Communications and Infrastructure as the companies hoping to build the new network using the technology known as “fiber to the home” or FTTH. Fiber optic lines can provide Internet speeds of an amazing one gigabit per second.

“All four groups we have now are big groups with a lot of experience and knowledge,” Tzvi Harpak, vice president of logistics at IEC and head of the tender committee, told Reuters.

“Everyone feels that bandwidth will be this commodity down the road. If you don’t have it, you’ll be out of luck,” David St. John, spokesman for the FTTH Council – an industry trade group based in the US, told the Associated Press.

The government is backing the plan.

“Providing high-quality, fiber-to-the-home bandwidth for consumers all over Israel [especially in peripheral areas] is a national interest as it promotes economic growth, education, provision of government services, social welfare,” said Eden Bar-Tal, the director general of Israel’s Communications Ministry.

IEC’s Harpak said the project is estimated to cost billions of shekels to deploy some 25,000 km of fiber optics. He said the IEC hopes to have 10 percent of the country wired by 2013, and two-thirds of the country covered by 2020.