June 12, 2012, 4:36 AM — China plans to increase Internet speeds for urban households in the country to 20M bps (bits per second) by 2015, according to a new government plan released on Monday.
The target was announced as part of a new national human rights action plan, which was approved by China's State Council. While the action plan covers measures to improve the nation's living standards and alleviate poverty, it also announces goals to accelerate China's Internet development.
Outside of urban cities, rural households in China will see Internet speeds reach 4Mbps by 2015. Fiber optic Internet connections will cover 200 million households, the plan added.
Although China is one of the world's largest Internet markets with 513 million users, connection speeds in the country are still slow in comparison with other nations.
Average Internet speeds in China are about 1.4Mbps, ranking the country 90th globally, according to Internet content delivery network vendor Akamai Technologies. South Korea has the highest average Internet speed at 16.7Mbps, while the U.S. has an average speed at 6.1Mbps.
Monday's targets were announced after China started an anti-monopoly investigation last November against state-controlled telecommunication firms China Telecom and China Unicom for keeping prices high for mobile broadband access. Due to the investigation, both China Telecom and China Unicom pledged to improve the Internet speeds for their subscribers, while also lowering the price.
As part of the action plan, China also wants to increase Internet penetration in the country to more than 45 percent by 2015. Currently, that figure is at 38.3 percent, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.