China’s State Council has issued a new ‘Broadband China’ strategy to develop the nation’s broadband networks, including establishing new targets for coverage and timetables to achieve those goals. Under the new plan, coverage, access speeds and subscriptions were set new targets for 2013, 2015 and 2020. Fixed broadband household coverage should reach 40% by the end of the year, 50% by 2015 and 70% by 2020, whilst urban coverage is set to grow to 55%/65% in 2013/2015; whilst 20% and 30% of rural homes should be covered in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Augmenting China’s fixed broadband networks, 3G and 4G wireless coverage is set to reach 25%, 32.5% and 85% of households by the target dates. Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks are set to pass 130 million homes by 2013, 200 million by 2015 and 300 million by 2020.
In terms of access speeds, the Council intends to make 20Mbps broadband available to 80% of urban users by the end of 2013, increasing to all urban users by 2015. By 2020 however, the government aims to increase that speed to 50Mbps, although 100Mbps and 1Gbps speeds are set to become available to a minority in ‘developed cities’ in 2015 and 2020 respectively. Rural broadband accesses will lag someway behind cities however, with 4Mbps due to be made available to 85% of users by end-2013, increasing to all rural connections by 2015, and expanding to 12Mbps by 2020.
Meanwhile the Council aims to reach 210 million subscriptions to fixed broadband products by the end of the year, split 160 million/50 million between urban/rural users, including 30 million FTTH subscribers and in addition to 330 million 3G/4G users. This target will grow to 270 million by 2015, with a 200 million/70 million split, 70 million FTTH users and 450 million 3G/4G customers. The council’s 2020 target envisages a total of 400 million fixed broadband users and 1.2 billion 3G/4G users.