Sunday, February 10, 2008

China - rural broadband

95% of villages to have access to broadband service in '08

China's information industry authority plans to expand broadband service to more than 95 percent of the nation's villages in 2008.

Some of the central and eastern provinces will have all their townships and villages covered by broadband service by the end of this year, according to the Ministry of Information Industry (MII).

Telephone service will be expanded further in the rural areas, the ministry said on Sunday, which vowed a more extensive Internet connection to the rural areas with better quality.

Of late some 99.5 percent of the country's villages have access to telephone links, and the broadband connection have reached 92 percent of the villages nationwide.

Last year, 73 million people were added to the nation's total netizen population. Of the increment, 29.17 million, or 40 percent,lived in rural areas. This brought the number of rural Internet users to 52.62 million at the end of 2007, up 127.7 percent year-on-year. The rate was much higher than the 38.2 percent for urban areas.

The impressive growth in rural regions was due largely to government efforts and the robust demand from those areas.

China had 210 million Internet users at the end of 2007 and its online population is on course to become the world's largest at the beginning of this year.

China had so far about 122 million broadband users, ranking top among the world.

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