China pledges to expand the internet

chinese-propaganda-posterChina will spend more than $182 billion to boost internet speeds by the end of 2017, a top government body said.

The move is part of Beijing’s attempts to give its more service-driven sector a boost.

The State Council said the government will invest more than $69.3 billion this year on network construction, with at least another $112.8 billion spent over the following two years.

The goal is to accelerate the development of fibre optic broadband and high speed 4G mobile networks.

According to cloud computing services provider Akamai’s State of the Internet report for the fourth quarter of 2014, China ranked 82nd in the world for average internet connection speed, slower than Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan.

China unveiled a vision for the next stage of its economic ascent, moving from low-tech manufacturing to advanced industry in areas such as space, e-commerce, green energy and bioengineering by 2025.

Premier Li Keqiang has also already identified the Internet and technology as vital catalysts for the shift towards an economy cantered around services.

China’s three state-owned wireless carriers are also on board. Last week, China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom (Hong Kong) and China Telecom said they would cut mobile data prices and boost data speeds this year, potentially spurring a mass migration of customers to more lucrative 4G contracts.