China plans to improve the nation's internet networks by building new fibre networks while also lowering their prices following user complaints over slow connection speeds, a Chinese government official said this morning.
"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.
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 UK ranked 28th in the last report.
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% 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% of the nation's broadband market, but had allegedly kept internet service fees high without optimising 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.