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China pledges expansion of fiber-optic networks

By Bai Yang  (People's Daily)    13:47, March 09, 2016

Huang Zhiqiang, a resident of Jianshi county, Enshi, Central China's Hubei Province, views an county information site on a TV in his home. The county set up an information platform that can be accessed by TVs, computers and mobile phones through a new fiber-optic network. (Photo: hbjs.gov.cn)  

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, in an annual government work report, revealed plans to build a fiber-optic network in order to narrow the digital divide between urban and rural areas.

“Fiber-optic networks will be developed in a number of cities and 50,000 administrative villages will be linked to fiber-optic networks,” Li pledged in the report he delivered Saturday at the opening meeting of the fourth session of the 12th National People’s Congress.

Li added that the network will provide more urban and rural residents greater access to information and other digital services.

As China’s latest effort to improve its information infrastructure, the plan heralds increased access and faster network speeds.

Li previously urged construction of a high-speed, low-cost network on many occasions, confessing that information networks in some developing countries outperform Beijing’s.

In last year’s government report, Li also stressed projects to deliver telecoms, radio, television and Internet service over a single broadband connection, develop fiber-optic networks and significantly increase broadband speeds.

The recent push for information networks comes as China experiences an increased expansion of Internet applications.

As of the end of 2014, the number of China’s fixed broadband users exceeded 200 million, while 3G and 4G users reached more than 580 million. Among them, 97 million subscribed to the 4G network. A total, 40.9 percent of users have access to bandwidths of 8Mbps or more.

Miao Wei, head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, recently set this year’s main objective for “Broadband China,” a national plan aimed at increasing urban and rural broadband coverage.

This year an additional 80 million households will be covered by fiber-optic network, while broadband service will be offered to another 14,000 villages, according to Miao.

In addition, over 600,000 4G base stations will be built, with some cities gaining full fiber-optic network coverage. Moreover, 4G network will cover counties and developed townships, Miao added.

Since information infrastructure is directly linked with the country’s economic development and improved standards of living, these efforts will in turn boost social progress.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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