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Mobile Internet broadens horizons

(China Daily)

08:33, July 02, 2013

Almost everyone at Deten in Dagze county knows the power of the Internet.

At the Tibetan village some 30 km from Lhasa, villagers are using mobile Internet to do everything from looking for new jobs to watching foreign TV shows.

"The Internet is amazing. It can answer any question you ask," said local resident Luosang, whose son secured a job in the regional capital of Lhasa via online recruitment in April.

Thanks to the surging popularity of mobile Internet in Tibet, Gunsang Qoezhoen is no stranger to names that are making headlines worldwide, even the US secret surveillance project code-named PRISM.

"Everybody talks about it online," she said when asked about the most popular topics among netizens.

Like many young people across China, Qoezhoen devotes much of her free time to posting on Sina Weibo, a popular micro blogging service, and chatting with friends on WeChat, an instant messaging application, on her phone.

The development of the Internet, driven by the heady growth of the mobile phone market, has significantly narrowed the information gap between remote Tibet and the outside world, said Wangdui, an official with the Tibet regional department of industry and information technology.

"Phone-based Internet browsing is popular among Tibetans, as the devices are more portable and cheaper compared with a laptop," Wangdui said.

To further boost Internet usage, the regional government has been working to provide Internet access to all of its 5,200 villages by the end of 2015.

In addition, the government will also build computer rooms in 3,000 villages by 2015 and train local technicians to teach villagers how to surf the Internet.

By the end of May, Tibet had about 1.75 million Internet users, 1.58 million of whom use their mobile phones to go online, Wangdui said.

Tibet launched mobile phone services in 1993, with only one base station set up in Lhasa. But two decades later, mobile phones have reached three-quarters of Tibet's residents, or 2.26 million people, according to the regional communications administration.

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