China unveils $170bn telecoms investment

James Pearce
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Chinese government plans to lay 90,000km of fibre cables and deploy around two million 4G base stations over the next three years

China has unveiled plans to invest almost 1.2 trillion yuan ($170 billion) in internet projects and infrastructure over the next three years.

Xinhua News Agency claims the Chinese government plans to boost the economy through major investments in projects that will improve broadband and mobile connectivity.

Guidelines released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the National Development and Reform Commission revealed plans to lay up to 90,000km of fibre cables by 2018, expanding broadband coverage to nearly 90% of the countryside.

China has already made significant investments in its network infrastructure, having built 2.6 million kilometres of fibre in 2015, according to MIIT. This has given around 60% of Chinese broadband users access to the superfast technology.

The major investment will also see around two million new 4G base stations deployed across towns and villages in a bit to boost the number of people using mobiles to 75% of the population, the reports claim.

China also plans to boost interconnections with overseas networks. Currently, China has 80 connections but this will rise to 120 as part of the plans unveiled by MIIT.

The news comes just days after reports emerged claiming China is seeking outside investment in its telecoms industry.

A notice from the CPC Central Committee said the government plans to "give free rein to telecommunications companies in the development of the internet".