China to spend $326b on broadband plan

China plans to spend 2 trillion yuan ($326.7 billion) on its ambitious plan to make broadband available to nearly the entire population by 2020.

The government also aims to increase the nation's broadband userbase by 25 million and fiber subscriber base by 35 million in 2013, Reuters reports, citing a Chinese-language interview with vice ICT minister Shang Bing.

Currently, only about 45% of China's over 1.35 billion population has internet access, due to low penetration in rural areas.

In 2011, China announced the Broadband China strategy as part of its 12th five-year plan, in an attempt to improve penetration and internet speeds. Last month, the company outlined its targets for the strategy including for the first time a planned implementation timetable.

These targets include expanding fixed broadband coverage to half of Chinese households by 2015, and improving average broadband speeds to 20Mbps for urban areas and 4Mbps in rural areas by this time.

Targeted average speeds will increase to 50Mbps in cities and 12Mbps in rural areas by 2020, by which time the ministry is aiming for nationwide broadband coverage

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