Wednesday, December 26, 2007

China - broadband in Shanghai

Shanghai clicks onto broadband in a big way

SHANGHAI leads all Chinese cities for computer connections - half of the city's families subscribe to broadband, China Telecom said yesterday.

Shanghai's broadband subscriber base has passed three million already, 15 times up from 2002, according to Shanghai Telecom, the city's largest fixed-line phone operator.

About 85 percent of Shanghai Telecom's broadband users are accessing the Internet at more than two MBPS (megabits per second) allowing them to use various online services from IPTV (Internet protocol TV), online games and film and music downloads.

And 80 percent of Shanghai Telecom's users have selected the more expensive four MBPS package.

The number of broadband users on China's mainland has already hit 122 million, the highest in the world, according to the Ministry of Information Industry.

"The efficiency and popularity of broadband ensures that people are using more online applications," said Hua Ruiqiang, Shanghai Telecom's senior manager.

Shanghai Telecom's IPTV subscriber base has passed 220,000, three times that of a year ago. The IPTV service allows users to surf online using television screens. The quality of IPTV video however is not as good as DVDs and so the platform does not appeal to everyone.

Shanghai Telecom is planning to upgrade the broadband network to 16 MBPS, a speed that supports high-definition video content, according to Hua.

Fixed line carriers, like China Telecom, are seeking opportunities like broadband and IPTV to boost revenue outside of telephones.

Last year, more than 30 percent of China Telecom's income came from non-phone services, up from 5.5 percent in 2002.

Shanghai Telecom charges families between 130 and 150 yuan (US$20.46) a month for broadband. The fixed line phone companies' traditional incomes have been hit by mobile carriers with their free incoming call services, says Norson Telecom Consulting, a Beijing-based IT consulting firm.

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