The number of FTTx subscribers increased to 228 million and 3G/4G mobile broadband Internet-access subscribers grew to 941 million in China as of the end of 2016, accounting for 76.8% of all fixed-line broadband Internet-access subscribers, and 71.2% of all mobile communications respectively, Digitimes Research cited statistics by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) as indicating.
MIIT aims at 300 million FTTx subscribers and 400 million fixed-line broadband Internet-access subscribers by 2020 and is likely to attain the goal earlier, Digitimes Research indicated.
The significant growth in the number of FTTx subscribers is because the China government began to implement the Broadband China Plan in August 2013, and China Mobile became the third licensee of fixed-line broadband Internet-access services at the end of that year. China Mobile has been rapidly setting up FTTx infrastructure and saw its market share for fixed-line broadband rise to 28.1% in 2016.
Despite progress in overall penetration of fixed-line broadband in China, the gap in the penetration rate in urban and rural areas has widened. The average penetration rate in urban areas increased from 35.9% in 2008 to 67.2% in 2016 while rural ones rose from 11.6% to 31.7%, raising the gap from 24.3pp to 35.5pp.
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