Beijing: China hopes to increase internet speed by five times and cut broadband costs by 2015, the ministry of information technology has said.
By 2015 the average broadband bandwidth will hit 20 megabytes per second (Mbps) in urban areas, almost five times the current level. In rural areas, the bandwidth will reach four Mbps, the ministry said.
The move follows widespread complaints that the country`s broadband services were "too expensive and too slow", the Shanghai Daily reported.
"China`s broadband bandwidth is relatively behind the level of many countries, and with an unreasonably high price. We aim to invest heavily to improve it by 2015," said Industry and Information Technology Minister Miao Wei.
At present, China`s broadband bandwidth is ranked No.71 in the world.
The report said the average bandwidth in the US was now 20 to 25 Mbps, five times that of China.
Regarding cost, one Mbps of bandwidth in China costs an average of $13 at present -- four times the US level and more than 400 times that of Hong Kong, says a report by Beijing-based Data Center of China Internet.
In November, the National Development and Reform Commission began a probe into China Telecom and China Unicom after suspicions that they were preventing others from entering the market and were keeping the price of broadband services "artificially high".
The two later promised to cut broadband rates and lift speeds over the next five years.
China Telecom -- the country`s No.1 broadband service provider -- promised to cut rates by 35 percent in the next five years.
By the end of November, China had 155 million family broadband users and 119 million 3G phone users, the ministry said.
China also has 11 million Internet Protocol TV users and 40 million mobile video users, who watch video content through their phones.