China Plans to Improve Internet Speeds, Bring Down Costs

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Following user complaints of slow connection speeds, China plans to improve the nation's Internet networks by building new fiber networks while also lowering their prices, said a Chinese government official on Tuesday.

"This implementation will push China's broadband foundation and applications to a new level, and improve the price-peformance ratio of user's broadband," said Chen Jiachun, a deputy director with China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, during a Tuesday media briefing

Although China has the world's largest Internet population at 513 million users, according to the government estimates, the country still lags far behind other nations in Internet access speeds.

China has an average Internet speed of 1.4 Mbps, putting the nation 90th on the global rankings, according to Internet content delivery network vendor Akamai Technologies. In contrast, the global average Internet connection speed is 2.7 Mbps. South Korea has the highest average Internet speed at 16.7 Mbps, while the U.S. ranks 13th with an average speed of 6.1 Mbps.

In building more Internet networks, China plans to also bring more broadband to the country's rural areas, Chen said. Currently, China's Internet penetration rate covers 38.3 percent of the populace.

Chen made the statements after the Chinese government started an anti-monopoly investigation in November against state-controlled telecommunication firms China Telecom and China Unicom.

The two companies dominate about 90 percent of the nation's broadband market, but had allegedly kept Internet service fees high without optimizing connection speeds, according to a report from China's state-run Xinhua News Agency.

In December, both China Telecom and China Unicom said in response to the investigation that the companies will improve Internet speeds while bringing down prices for customers.

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