China said to plan broadband USF

22 Jun 2015

China's State Council reportedly plans to establish a new Broadband Universal Service Fund to help improve penetration in rural areas.

China's C114reports, citing unnamed sources, that the new USF will seek to direct government investment to rural areas as part of the Broadband China strategy, which aims to improve internet connectivity to help further stimulate the economy.

The sources expressed a belief that despite sentiment from government and industry in favor of broadband China initiatives, actions to achieve the goals have been relatively thin on the ground.

In addition, experts believe it will be difficult to achieve China's national broadband goals solely on the efforts of the three main state-owned operators. Policy support and collaborative projects will be required as well.

A source told C114 that the government is concerned that the gap between the broadband technology available in urban and rural areas is already too great.

If the gap is allowed to widen further, this situation risks creating a new digital divide in the Chinese market.

Comparable markets such as India already have broadband USFs, and even developed markets such as the USA are spending major capital on improving connections in rural areas, the source added.

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