China will shore up the growth of digital technology in rural areas to help spur vitalization and accelerate agricultural development, according to a guideline published on Thursday.
The guideline, jointly issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, highlighted the importance of using information technology to improve the sense of gain, happiness and security among farmers.
It has set a target of making 4G internet accessible to more than 98 percent of the administrative villages before 2020 and speeding up the development of the digital economy in rural regions.
The guideline also called for the expansion of Internet Plus administrative services to rural areas and an in-depth promotion of poverty alleviation campaign online.
With the upgrading of internet technology, 2025 will see a notable narrowing of the urban-rural digital gap, the establishment of various entrepreneurial and innovation centers in rural areas, and an intellectual rural logistics system, the guideline said.
By 2035, the country will basically realize rural and agricultural modernization and ensure that both urban and rural residents enjoy equal public services, under the guideline.
The completion of the development of digital villages by the middle of this century will advance rural revitalization.
To fulfill such targets, the country will accelerate the construction of IT infrastructure in rural areas, upgrading rural internet facilities and information services.
The country will step up efforts to bolster the rural digital economy, with wider use of digital technologies in agriculture and the development of e-commerce and various emerging creative industries in rural regions.
The guideline also stressed the importance of ecological protection in rural areas through the use of digital technologies.
The improvement of internet services in rural areas in poverty alleviation will also be a priority, and more information sharing will be conducted to further promote urban-rural integrated development, the guideline said.
Mobile phone users nationwide will be able to switch service carriers without changing phone numbers by the end of November, the State Council decided at an executive meeting on May 14.
According to a statement released after the meeting, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, the country 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.
As part of efforts to improve services, the meeting urged telecommunication service providers to straighten out their service packages to trim the packages available by more than 15 percent within this year.
The country will extend 1,000MB broadband to more than 300 cities, with base stations for the mobile internet set to be upgraded with expanded capacity. The goal is to raise the speed of both fixed-line and mobile internet services to 1,000MB.
The meeting has also set a target of expanding the coverage of broadband networks to 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.
As part of efforts to further lower prices, the average broadband service rate for small and midsized enterprises will be cut by 15 percent this year, with the average rate for mobile internet services down by more than 20 percent, the statement said.
Meanwhile, roaming charges for internet traffic between the mainland and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions will be cut by 30 percent, and a "floor-price" rate will be set for low-income and elderly populations.
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