China wants an average bandwidth of 20Mbps in urban areas

China mulls over nationwide broadband plans

The Chinese government is considering details of a national strategy to increase broadband Internet connectivity country wide.

Nine Ministries and the National Development and Reform Commission, which had jointly worked on an elaborate proposal, were scheduled to submit the plan to the State Council in the second half of June. The Broadband China Project aims to deliver fibre optic communication in urban areas and make broadband services more widely available in rural areas.

The State Council is expected to take two months to study the plan before a decision is announced.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) Li Lingwei told E&T the project will speed up the pace of delivering the next generation of Internet connectivity and cable television in China.

“It will also focus on R&D in relevant fields like chipsets and software,” Li said.

China aims to deliver broadband connectivity to 35 million households in 2012. As of 30 April, there were 159 million broadband subscribers, a penetration rate of 11.7 per cent.

Li said that although the number of subscribers has increased steadily since 2010, China is still far behind compared to some developing countries.

China has set a goal to have an average bandwidth of 20 megabits per second (Mbps) in urban areas and 4Mbps in the rural areas. For major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou Hangzhou and Kunming the aim is to have a bandwidth of 100Mbps.

China’s telecom operators are investing a total of $58bn in 2012 for broadband infrastructure construction, an increase of 10 per cent over last year.

In May, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell announced a contract worth over $120m with China Telecom for network equipment that will contribute to the deployment of fibre-to-the-home across all 31 of China’s provinces, bringing services such as IPTV, video-on-demand and voice-over-IP to millions of households.

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