The Rise and Rise of Broadband in China

By Paul Budde
Paul Budde

While there are plenty of articles continuously updating us on the incredible social and economic developments that are taking place in China it is still sometimes good to stand still and have a look at some of these developments.

It was 15 years ago that the Chinese Government — in its 5-year plan — stated that it wanted to connect all of its half million villages to the telecommunications network. At that point the plan simply called for narrowband telephone connections. Now in 2014 over 95% of these villages are connected to fixed and mobile broadband networks.

These rapid developments saw, for example in 2011/12, 300 million smartphone connections added to the overall telecoms penetration in the country, by far the largest uptake anywhere in the world. This in turn — the following year (2013) — led to the launch of the $50 high quality smartphone from Huawei. Obviously this affordable device is equally sought after in other parts of Asia, Africa and South America.

This year the country plans to put a further 30 million FttH connections into people's homes. This will bring the total number of users benefited from the country's FttH program to nearly 200 million by the end of 2014. The new broadband map includes 13,800 villages.

Higher bandwidth qualities of 50 to 100Mbs, will be extended to regions with mature networks, while over 30% of total users will have 8M Internet access.

Most Chinese Internet users connect via 2 to 4Mbs broadband; government support has reduced the cost per Mb by 50.8% since 2011. The 4G network is also part of the plan, with 30 million new TD-LTE users and 300,000 new base stations expected in 2014.

It is not just connectivity that is happening in China. These developments have also led to a large number of income generating opportunities.

E-business has become the way for young entrepreneurs to move forwards. This new platform provided for 80 million jobs in China in 2013, 70% of them went to these young entrepreneurs.

At the same time China is actively using the new broadband platform to provide education for young people with among others programmes directly aimed at job opportunities that are becoming available within the digital economy.

By Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication. Paul is also a contributor of the Paul Budde Communication blog located here.

Related topics: Broadband, Networks, Telecom