China will extend 1,000-Megabyte broadband connection to more than 300 cities and cut the average service rates by 15 percent for small and midsized enterprises this year. The measures are designed to achieve multiplying effects of expanding domestic demand, boosting employment and improving people's lives.
The decision was made at the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on May 14.
The Chinese government puts high importance on work relating to broadband connections at reasonable rates. General Secretary Xi Jinping issued instructions on several occasions, stressing the need for enhanced information infrastructure building to provide people with accessible, affordable and user-friendly information services. Premier Li Keqiang emphasized that solid efforts must be made for faster and more affordable internet services and sharpen the country's international competitiveness in this regard.
Figures from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology show that 1,000M broadband has been piloted in 100-plus Chinese cities. The country now has more than 3.76 million 4G base stations and 1.17 billion-strong 4G network users.
It was agreed at the meeting that as required by the Central Economic Work Conference and the Government Work Report, efforts must be intensified to make internet services faster at a lower rate. This will not only benefit and facilitate companies and the people, but will also help boost effective investment and harness the digital economy’s role in driving China's economic and social development.
"We need to upgrade our internet services. This is a key measure to boost consumption and meet the needs of our massive cellphone users," Premier Li said.
Participants at the meeting agreed that upgrading and expanding the capacity of internet infrastructure should be an important area in boosting effective investment. By the end of this year, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) ports relative to all broadband ports will be raised to more than 90 percent, 1,000M broadband will be extended to more than 300 cities, and base stations for mobile internet will be upgraded with expanded capacity. The goal is to raise the speed of both fixed-line and mobile internet services to 1,000M.
Broadband networks will cover 97 percent of primary and middle schools nationwide this year, and dedicated internet services will be made available over time in hospitals and medical consortiums above the county level.
"The industrial internet, education and medical care are our priorities in upgrading internet services in order to boost industrial development, improve access to quality medical resources and promote fairness in education," Premier Li said.
Basic telecommunication service providers will be encouraged to further lower prices. The goal this year is to cut the average broadband service rate for small and midsized enterprises by 15 percent, the average rate for mobile internet services by more than 20 percent, and roaming charges for internet traffic between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao by 30 percent. A "floor-price" rate will be set for low-income and elderly populations.
Basic telecommunication service providers will be urged to ensure that cellphone users nationwide can switch service carriers without changing phone numbers by the end of November, and any extra term required for this service will be looked into. These companies will also be urged to straighten out their service packages to trim the packages available by more than 15 percent within this year, bringing more benefits to consumers.
"There is huge consumer demand for internet services in our country. We must encourage fair competition, and ensure that our measures to lower internet service charges are fully delivered as they are an important part of our efforts in improving people’s lives," Premier Li said.
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