Only a small number of U.S. cities can boast high-speed fiber optic connections (anyone in Kansas City, Kansas, want to share their Google Fiber?), but in China, it’s either fiber or bust.
According to a new report from the state-run paper China Daily, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is ordering all newly built residences to install fiber optic connections in any city or county “where a public fiber optic telecom network is available.”
“The standards will take effect from April 1, 2013,” China Daily reported, adding that residents will be able to choose their own Internet service provider (ISP) with equal connections to services, even though there was no information on how much these various services would cost; as a basis for comparison, Google Fiber costs $70 a month, while Verizon FiOS costs anywhere between $79 to $109 a month or more.
Fiber optic networks, which boast download and upload speeds of more than 100 times faster than today’s broadband, can transmit digital information to your computer, TV, phone or mobile device at lightning speeds. Not only does this make content more accessible and enjoyable, but people continue to invest in fiber because of the enhanced possibilities for digital innovation, particularly when it comes to applications, which frequently suck up a lot of bandwidth.
According to analysts, China’ new fiber optic network standards are designed to boost business for the telecom industry in China, which is reportedly “worth thousands of billions yuan,” according to China Daily. And luckily for China, there are none of those pesky regulations -- environmental, economic or otherwise -- to halt this form of progress.
However, even China is offering something Google and Verizon aren’t offering here in the U.S.: Open access, and the choice of multiple service providers once the fiber is installed. Even though Google originally promised something similar back in February 2010 -- an “open access” network that allows users to choose between multiple service providers “in an open, non-discriminatory and transparent way” -- Google has since decided to make its Google Fiber network only available to those who pay Google directly.
Companies in China are working hard to complete and distribute their own “fiber-to-the-home” (FTTH) projects, including China’s second-largest telecommunications carrier, China Unicom, which just added 10 million Chinese families to its “Broadband China, Fiber Cities” campaign in 2012.
According to the China Daily report, the Chinese government hopes to have “40 million families connected to fiber networks by 2015,” which is almost one-third of the country’s entire population.