China has outlined plans for a $182bn project to boost the speed of internet services to businesses and citizens in the nation by 2017.
The plan will focus on improving fixed and mobile broadband services. China aims to have 80 million households and 10,000 villages provided with fibre services this year, and 14,000 villages will be covered by basic broadband.
On the mobile side, the aim is for 1.3 million 4G network base stations to be built to support 300 million 4G subscribers.
This work should ensure that all households in locations above prefecture level will have access to 100Mbps fibre services by 2017, while over 80 percent of villages will be covered by fibre networks so that speeds of at least 30Mbps are available to all. China also aims to have all cities and villages covered by 4G networks.
The State Council revealed the plans on Wednesday, saying that China needs to ensure that it does not fall behind the rest of the world when it comes to connectivity, as at present the nation languishes behind far smaller countries such as Thailand for internet speeds.
This should allow China to benefit from new technological developments such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things and big data.
The move comes amid ongoing tensions between China and the West over its cyber actions. The US has accused people inside the country of conducting major hacking attacks against US networks and businesses and creating tools to disrupt the web.
China has repeatedly denied such allegations, but major security vendors have uncovered evidence of attacks from China hitting organisations, including universities.
Author's View: This is a major announcement from the Chinese government that could have widespread implications for the web as a whole as millions more people in China get online with faster services, something that will cause worldwide traffic volumes to rocket.
The scope of the rollout is notable too, underlining the Chinese government's clout and the size of the challenge. The country plans to get 80 million households provided with fibre this year. By comparison, the UK government has tackled about half that number in five years.
However, it will be interesting to see how the Chinese government manages this huge growth in internet access, as the ruling party likes to keep a tight grip on the information that is accessible in the nation.
Faster, better and more widely available web access may make it harder to keep tabs on the services, sites and content that its citizens are viewing.
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