Print 13 comment(s) - last by Motoman.. on Feb 28 at 8:38 PM

Chinese government plans massive broadband rollout for 2013

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced this week that it plans to significantly increase the number of homes with broadband access. The Chinese government wants to get broadband access (4M or higher) into the homes of more than 70% of the country's internet users by the end of 2013.

The push to get more users online is part of China's 2013 Broadband China project aiming to increase fiber-to-the-home coverage by more than 35 million households. The number of homes with access to the service last year increased to 49%, with 94 million users covered.
Minister Miao Wei also said that China plans to add 1.3 million wireless hotspots.

The ministry had previously stated that it planned to have broadband coverage for 250 million users in China by the end of 2015.
Companies in the U.S. are also looking to expand fiber connections to consumers, albeit slowly. Google recently launched its Google Fiber service in Kansas City, and users are seeing download speeds approaching 700 Mbps.

Source: China Daily

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Bigger issue with population density than the US
By Motoman on 2/28/2013 10:24:39 AM , Rating: 2
Here in the USA, as I have to remind folks on occasion, roughly 20% (or 1 in 5) Americans live in rural areas. Which are frequently not served by any broadband service at all...relegating those people to substandard choices such as wifi (if in cell tower range at all - and with horribly small data caps), satellite (terrible latency and horribly small data caps), or dial-up.

People will say stupid things like "well, if South Korea can get 99% of it's population on broadband, the USA can too!" Yes and no. South Korea is a tiny country, in terms of landmass - which has very high population density. It's very easy to get high % of access to broadband in a small area with high population density.

In the US, there are vast stretches of land with population densities, in some cases, of less than one person per square mile. And even in places where it's more like 10 or 20 per square mile, the idea of getting broadband access to them is hampered by the very real concern of cost-to-serve. Cable or DSL (let alone fiber) can be provided to an urban community at a very low per-user cost. But when there's just one farmhouse at the end of a 10-mile driveway? Or even a cluster of 5 or 6 houses within 1/2 mile of each other, but 10 miles from anything else? That per-user cost skyrockets, and it quickly becomes financially ridiculous to get $29.95/month DSL to those houses.

Which is why it's also ridiculous to say that we're all "switching" to digital services...movies by internet on Netflix, games by internet on Steam, etc. Because for one out of every five Americans, the sheer concept of downloading a movie or video game is absolutely laughable (concerns about ownership rights aside at this point).

As one of the 20% myself, limping along on cellular wifi after having been lead to believe that DSL was available at our new location only to find that it wasn't, I'm keenly aware of the pain of not having access to real broadband...but I'm also not stupid enough to hold my breath waiting for it.

So when China says they're going to get large percentages of their people on broadband...I have to wonder how that project is going to be funded. Sure, maybe they're only talking about 70%...but I'm going to guess that their population density is vastly smaller than the US too.

Maybe they can make cellular wifi work for remote areas...which, you could, if you firstly put up an adequate number of high-powered towers, and secondly didn't have any caps on data usage. Granted that they're a communist country, they might be able to do that. But still...that's a lot of towers.

Satellite will never work for large portions of the user base by a simple law of physics...there's nothing you can fundamentally do about the latency. Sure, it will let you browse the web and get your email and stuff, but there's no way that you're doing anything that is impacted by streaming anything, remote worker applications, or dare I say even gaming. And again that would be assuming you abolish the data caps anyway.

Everything else requires running physical wires. And I can't even imaging the manpower and cost involved in running that much cable...of any kind.

At the end of the day, maybe China spends a trillion dollars running fiber optic all over the place...which, I guess, they could do...being a communist country. It would be a big feather in their hat. But that doesn't mean that the US can...or even should. Cost has to equate to benefit...and that's a difficult equation to make balance - at least, for ~20% of our citizens.

By ChugokuOtaku on 2/28/2013 10:40:19 AM , Rating: 2
For a little background info, broadband(especially DSL) took off VERY fast in China once it became available, because it was actually cheaper than dial-up. This is due to the fact that Chinese telecoms are monopolized, and there are no unlimited calling plans for landlines at the time. Thus with dial-up, your internet usage is billed by the minute, which actually help encourage broadband adoption.

Of all the friends and families I've visited in China within the last 2 years, I haven't come across a single apartment dwelling household without broadband, and this is across more than a dozen cities of different sizes, although a good number are on DSL(or perhaps is DSL no longer considered broadband these days?). I'm a bit puzzled by the article, as it somehow suggest a good number of internet users don't have broadband. Even more puzzling, is the fact that in China, you don't have any true suburbs as we do here in the states. You're either in the city, or you're out in the country. Cities grow by eating up adjacent land, and usually the latest infrastructure is laid down, including fiber.

Unless the source of the article is pointing at the central government's intent on providing broadband to rural villages and whatever that currently doesn't have internet period, it doesn't really make a lotta sense to me. It would make more sense if say, they intend to INCREASE internet users by a certain percentage.

By Motoman on 2/28/2013 10:51:22 AM , Rating: 2
I haven't come across a single apartment dwelling household without broadband

...but that's it right there. By virtue of the fact that those people are living in apartments, they're in high-density population centers. Whether or not that population center is far away from other centers - it's relatively cost-efficient to run one main line to that distant population center and then *bam* get internet to everybody in all those apartments.

Those aren't rural dwellers.

By ChugokuOtaku on 2/28/2013 11:07:27 AM , Rating: 2
Not arguing against that fact that it's easier to roll out broadband in cities. But the article is suggesting that the central government trying to provide broadband coverage to EXISTING internet users NOT on broadband, as opposed to lighting up fiber to new users. Considering that the bulk of internet users dwell in cities, dial-up users should be close to non-existent.

The last time I remember seeing dial-up in China was in the late '90s. If this is the case, who are the internet users not on broadband? Are they in villages? The 70% stated in this article doesn't help without stating the percentage of non-broadband internet users. The article does state that as of last year, 49% of homes had fiber. That number is believable as my gf who lives in a midsize Chinese city just had her apartment lit with fiber late last year.

I think what the article is trying to state, is that the 70% is the target for FIBER internet users, not broadband. I wouldn't be surprised if that got lost in translation somewhere...

By Motoman on 2/28/2013 1:21:55 PM , Rating: 2
the 70% is the target for FIBER internet users, not broadband

Hmmm...well maybe I didn't read that right at first. But if that's the case, I kind of wonder about the point of the announcement. So you're going to take 70% of current broadband users and increase their bandwidth? Yay. That will do pretty close to f%ck-all to improve much of anything.

RE: Bigger issue with population density than the US
By tayb on 2/28/2013 11:57:58 AM , Rating: 1
The keyword in the article is "internet users." This is not a push to bring broadband to 70% of the population. Their goal of 250 million by 2015 would be lass than 20% of the total population.

If 80% of the market wants digital/streaming services that is what the market will do. Tough shit for the 20%.

By Motoman on 2/28/2013 1:23:50 PM , Rating: 2
If 80% of the market wants digital/streaming services that is what the market will do. Tough sh1t for the 20%.

LOL. Love the way you rush to bite the hand that feeds you. Literally.

Also, unrelatedly, may I take this opportunity to say how gay it is for DT to automatically append a URL link and message now to everything you copy from a user comment? Now, when quoting someone, you have to delete that crap back off. Gay.

By tayb on 2/28/2013 2:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
There are not ~62 million farmers in the US. And even if there were are they just going to stop being a farmer because they have to suffer through buffering to watch TV or wait longer to play video games?

What I said wasn't anything but a proclamation of exactly what will happen. It's not a "rush to condemn farmers." This is a capitalist country and the market will be dictated by the demand of the masses. It's no different than saying that people who live in rural areas will pay more and wait longer for packages. It's a fact.

RE: Bigger issue with population density than the US
By Uncle on 2/28/13, Rating: 0
By Motoman on 2/28/2013 8:38:42 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, the word you were looking for was "shill" - not "shrill." think low population density is a stupid excuse? I suppose you're so brilliant that you can tell us all a way to lay fiber optic cable to every person in every part of the USA in a cost-effective manner?

Go on. We're waiting.

... So you don't actually know any ways to bend the laws of physics, get millions of miles of fiber optic cable for free, armies of laborers to install it for free, so on ad so forth. Huh.

As for being hired by the "corps" to "feed the masses" this garbage...haven't seen any such paychecks. But then again, the only person stupid enough to suggest that that must be the problem, instead of, you know, *reality*, would be a banjo-playing hillbilly like you with his eyes on his first cousin. Like yourself.

By tanjali on 2/28/2013 11:06:04 AM , Rating: 2
If China decides it is done deal.

RE: Governing!
By CarbonJoe on 2/28/2013 12:03:57 PM , Rating: 1
You can have all broadband you want, then we'll lock it down to what we allow you to view.

RE: Governing!
By Uncle on 2/28/2013 1:47:08 PM , Rating: 2
You talking about the US, where they can shutdown any US domain at any time, or even go to some other country(New Zealand) and take a companies servers. What would you call it, I call it Gestapo tactics."You can have all broadband you want, then we'll lock it down to what we allow you to view." You must be referring to "The Six Strike Law ".

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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