The Chinese central government says it has invested over 40 billion yuan to bring broadband internet access to the country’s most disadvantaged rural communities.
The Ministry of Industry and Information technology has just released its “Implementation Plan Concerning the Advancement of Internet Poor Support (2018 – 2020)” (关于推进网络扶贫的实施方案（2018—2020年）), which calls for shrinking the “digital divided” between the countryside and the city.
The plan calls for the early completion of the 13th Five Year Plan target that “broadband internet cover over 90% of poorer villages” by the end of 2018.
The plan also outlines the goal of bringing broadband internet coverage to over 98% of China’s 122,900 registered poor villages by 2020, in order to “ensure that the registered poor population can enjoy convenient and quick access to high-speed, low-cost internet services…and have the opportunity to achieve household poverty reduction via rural e-commerce, long-distance education, long-distance healthcare and other high-quality public services.”
Since the end of 2015 China has implemented three trial initiatives for expanding telecommunications provision, involving a total investment sum of over 40 billion yuan.
By the end of 2018 all three of the trial programs will be completed, bringing fibre optic cable connections to 130,000 administrative villages, including 43,000 poor villages.
The average connection speed for villages connected using fibre optic cable will be a s high as 65Mbps, which is ahead of the average for China’s urban areas.
“On this foundation, we have also proposed this year’s trial plan, which is to include 4G network coverage in telecommunications expansion trials, for the focused push of 4G network coverage to poorer villages,” said a MIIT official.