The Chinese government has agreed to establish a broadband universal service fund (USF) for the deployment of broadband networks as part of efforts to meet policy targets for internet penetration, speeds and prices, C114 reports, citing an unnamed source. The relevant ministries are currently drawing up measures to manage the fund, but it was not specified how the USF would be financed. ‘If the government wants to make [an] investment, it has to be in the rural areas,’ the source explained, noting that the nation’s trio of telcos lacked incentives to roll out networks in more remote areas, where it may take more than ten years to recoup investment costs.
The sentiment was echoed by the director of China Telecom’s Technology Comission, Wei Leping, adding that it would be difficult to achieve the national goals based solely on the efforts of the three major operators. Collaborative projects and support from government policy was needed, the official explained.