Backed by at least 80 billion yuan ($11.8b) in state funds, China’s cable ministry plans to merge dozens of regional and local cable operations into a single national cable business.
The State Administration of Radio Film & TV (SARFT) last week set up a team headed by deputy chief Zhang Haitao to drive the scheme, 21cbh.com has reported.
The new enterprise – which is provisionally called the State Cable Network Company (SCNC) - will be launched by the end of the year.
SARFT has sketched plans for a next-generation digital cable system that will reach 200 million households over the next five years to compete directly with telcos in data and video.
Driving the aggressive rollout is the national government’s renewed efforts to deregulate cable and telecom sectors this year. Trials of cable data services in ten cities are underway.
Zhang said in a recent speech that formation of the national cable network was one of SARFT’s most urgent priorities, along with the network upgrades and digital transformation.