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Broadband blueprint to help economic restructuring

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-19 17:31

BEIJING -- China has outlined targets and timetables for broadband development in order to boost information consumption and facilitate economic restructuring.

The "Broadband China" strategy aims to expand broadband coverage in both rural and urban areas, with urban and rural household broadband speeds reaching 20 megabytes per second (Mbps) and 4 Mbps respectively by 2020, according to a statement released Saturday by the State Council, China's cabinet.

The fastest broadband speeds will reach 100 Mbps, the statement said.

Less than 14 percent of the Chinese population has access to broadband services, and broadband speeds average 1.8 Mbps, which are far below international standards.

The strategy identifies broadband networks as strategic public infrastructure and will boost investment in related infrastructure, especially in rural areas and China's central and western regions.

"The development of information technology and infrastructure not only improves broadband speed, but also means more economic opportunities," said Yu Xiaohui, senior engineer with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), who led the drafting of the strategy.

China released guidelines to support information services on Aug 14 in a bid to boost domestic demand and fuel economic growth.

Internet-based consumption should grow by at least 30 percent annually to 2.4 trillion yuan ($392 billion), according to the guidelines.

The value of industries supported by information consumption is expected to increase by 1.2 trillion yuan by the end of 2015, according to the guidelines.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from the strategy due to increased online business, as the government will support third-party e-commerce platforms to facilitate SMEs in online sales, purchasing and other operations, said Miao Wei, minister of MIIT.

"The blueprint will change people's comsumption habits and stimulate innovation in information products and services, thus facilitating China's economic restructuring," Yu said.

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