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China to invest $22 billion to expand rural broadband

China smartphone user
China will make an investment of more than 140 billion yuan or nearly $22 billion to offer high speed broadband in 50,000 more villages and 30 million rural households by 2020.

Stronger telecom services will help attract investment and fuel coordinated development, narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas, said a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The meeting urged more input from the central budget, more support from local policies and capital, more telecom construction and maintenance from private capital, more public-private partnerships, as well as stricter supervision of subsidies.

The meeting also stressed the importance of e-commerce, saying faster expansion of e-commerce in rural areas will stimulate consumption, benefit farmers and support the real economy.

Xinhua reports that China’s State Council recently released a plan promoting a nationwide project to deliver telecom, radio, television and Internet services over a single broadband connection.

The three-network convergence project is aimed at integrating data transmission infrastructure and facilitating information sharing.

As per the plan, radio and television stations are allowed to operate phone call and Internet services. Telecom companies are allowed to make radio and television programs, except for political news. The two-way entry to each other’s business will be implemented in a gradual way.

Optical fiber will replace copper wires to improve Internet speed and transmission capacity. Internet bandwidth will be increased, especially in rural areas.

China will promote the development of digital publishing, interactive new media and mobile multi-media, and encourage the consumption of animation, games, digital music and online artworks. The government will also support the research and development of key equipment needed to converge the three networks.

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