China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has launched a public consultation regarding proposals to open the fixed broadband market to competition from private companies during a three-year trial period. Telecom Asia writes that under the plans, Chinese firms with a capitalisation of at least CNY20 million (USD3.26 million) and more than three years’ experience in the telecoms market could apply to take part in a trial to provide fixed broadband services, including fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), to end-users. Successful applicants will be permitted to either roll out their own infrastructure or to lease access to the networks of China Telecom, China Unicom or China Mobile. The trial is set to take place in 16 cities, namely: Taiyuan, Shenyang, Harbin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Xiamen, Qingdao, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Chengdu.
The proposals mark another step towards greater levels of liberalisation in the Chinese market, and follow the decision to open the wireless market to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), again on a trial basis. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, MIIT allocated a further eight MVNO licences earlier this month, bringing the total to 33.