Stalemate remains in China cable, telecom integration

Robert Clark
18 Mar 2010

China’s cable and telecom regulators remain at loggerheads on the integration of the two sectors, despite a ruling from the State Council two months ago.

The council, China’s highest government body, has called for the “acceleration” of integration between cable and telecom firms and the internet, which would allow carriers to offer IPTV and cable companies to deliver broadband.

China’s strict laws on TV and internet content mean that despite years of efforts , the country has no internet TV or IPTV content.

The key regulators, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the State Administration of Radio Film & Television (SARFT), have been unable to strike a deal on how to regulate the merged sector; the MIIT claims jurisdiction over all services delivered over a telecom network and SARFT insists on regulating all broadcast content.

The new policy faltered at the first hurdle, when SARFT halted an IPTV trial conducted by Guangxi Telecom on February 22.

In his first public response on the issue, Li Yizhong, the head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said it “should be handled appropriately.”

“This problem involves several different points of view,” he said in an interview with official news agency Xinhua. “I think that through consultation and discussion we can obtain an appropriate solution. We don’t want to make this problem more acute.”

Li said MIIT and SARFT had been holding talks under the auspices of the State Council office and had achieved 11 points of agreement.

He confirmed that the first trials would begin in June, involving cable operators providing “two-way service” and telecom operators delivering broadcast.

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