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China Government Networking The Internet News Technology Your Rights Online

All New Homes In China Must Have Fiber Optic Internet Connections 202

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-fiber-in-every-garage dept.
redletterdave writes "Only a small number of U.S. cities can boast fiber optic connections, but in China, it's either fiber or bust. China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has now ordered all newly built residences to install fiber optic connections in any city or county 'where a public fiber optic telecom network is available.' The new standards will take effect starting on April 1, 2013, and residents will be able to choose their own ISP with equal connections to services. The Chinese government reportedly hopes to have 40 million families connected to fiber networks by 2015."
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All New Homes In China Must Have Fiber Optic Internet Connections

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Friday January 11, 2013 @01:48PM (#42560263) Journal
    I'm pretty sure internet services providers and the telecommunications market in China is dominated by two or three massive companies [arstechnica.com] just like it unfortunately is in the states.

    However, even China is offering something Google and Verizon aren’t here in the US: Open access, and the choice of multiple service providers once the fiber is installed.

    Um, yeah so you can pick from China Telecom and China Unicom [wikipedia.org] which are both -- SURPRISE SURPRISE -- state run and controlled providers. So, yeah, go ahead and select between Super Auspicious Provider A and Premium Auspicious Provider B and think you have a choice just like Cox and Comcast are two sides of the same inept coin.

    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.

    Emphasis mine. Anyone see a believable plan on how that's going to happen? I mean, I bet every government hopes to have a third of its nations homes on fiber networks by 2015 ... that sounds like a rather expensive project that you're not going to see a return on until the state owned providers pay it back though. You've got a state owned and state controlled newspaper telling you about something unbelievably awesome enforcing some totally unrealistic (unless there are few fiber neighborhoods) regulation. Am I the only one saying that I will applaud them when it's actually in place and working?

    2015 is two years away. Um, yeah, they had better get crackin'. Well, I guess when you can just force the poorer farming people to work for free [unpo.org] it might be possible! That little project was called “Speed up the Roads and Enrich the People” hahaha. Here's your shovel, comrade. Now start digging until you're enriched.

    The skeptic in me is just thinking that the home builders in China just need to pay off one more inspector to get a structure standing. Hell, their sheet rock and cement are clearly bribed through quality control -- why not structural, electrical and fiber officials?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ButchDeLoria (2772751)
      Of course it's too good to be true, just look at the deployment date of the standards.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I agree with your skepticism. I think the bigger question is what's the politburo is trying to accomplish as a whole--not just with the internet. I think what people have to understand is that every company in China is owned by the communist government--whether covertly or overtly, just look at who founded Huawei for an example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren_Zhengfei). China is slowly taking over the general aviation businesses in the US either by buying them out or requiring that that a China-based comp

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        What's the ultimate goal? To be competitive.
        They may be kinda sorta communists, but they aren't stupid.

        Over the past decade China added 3x as much interstate highway as exists in the entire United States. Theyre entire country is as well linked by high speed highway as the US, if not better. They saw how the movement of goods, service,a nd people, helps an economy grow, gives it room to grow, and linking the country quickly and efficiently is a big part of that. So they dd the same. And it's been a big part

        • Maybe things have changed, but last time i was there, their highways system wasn't anywhere near as good as ours.
          • by Spectre (1685)

            Things are changing, but a lot of it is probably what you remember.

            Tourist is skateboarding across two provinces right now ... big highway used almost exclusively by construction trucks extending the highway ... then a rocky trail to get over to another highway, also used almost exclusively by construction trucks building THAT highway ... and that was the BEST option for getting from point A to point B.

          • I've never been to China but the recent mining boom here in Oz was said to be due to domestic growth in China. Apparently they are investing in infrastructure at a pace never seen before, for the past few years they have been using up 1/3 of the world's output in steel for domestic construction, that's construction alone, not the total consumption. They have stated they want to create a strong middle class to spur domestic growth, it appears to be working in a spectacularly fashion.

            I don't think it will b
        • It's unfortunate, but lots of Americans get hung up on the name of China's governing political party, take it at face value, and blindly read cold-war Soviet memes into it that are about as relevant to modern China and accurately descriptive as "Leave it to Beaver" was to life in 1960s America.

      • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Friday January 11, 2013 @04:24PM (#42562059) Journal

        I agree with your skepticism. I think the bigger question is what's the politburo is trying to accomplish as a whole--not just with the internet. I think what people have to understand is that every company in China is owned by the communist government--whether covertly or overtly, just look at who founded Huawei for an example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren_Zhengfei).

        Really? Every company? I guess the company I own - of which I am the sole registered owner, and the only person on the bank accounts - is somehow State owned. It's no more State owned than my company in the US, meaning it's my private property until the Government decides I'm either doing something they don't like, or am doing it too successfully and need "their assistance" to make it better. But for now - it's 100% privately held by a foreign national. And there's no problem with that.

      • by TeknoHog (164938)

        I think the bigger question is what's the politburo is trying to accomplish as a whole--not just with the internet.

        The same thing we do every night, Pinky.

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Friday January 11, 2013 @02:03PM (#42560433)

      China Telecom and China Unicom which are both ... two sides of the same inept coin.

      Except the are not inept. Internet service in China is far cheaper, faster, more reliable, and more pervasive than what you find in the USA. Since these are SOEs, they are not entirely profit driven, but also consider wider societal goals, such as the economic and business benefits of a well connected population. There are certainly downsides to authoritarian socialism, but building out public infrastructure isn't one of them.

      • by grumpyman (849537)
        I'd have to think this ISP thing in China is mostly in urban center, which is densely populated. Hong Kong is at 34% [fiberopticmania.com]. Similar to mobile services, because of the scale and density, the service is much cheaper. As long as we love our single family house with double garage....
      • by jbeaupre (752124)

        I spend about 1/4 of my time in China. Different cities. And internet service is routinely slow and irregular. People routinely complain about how expensive and bad it is. And trying to access sites outside China can sometimes feel like using dial-up.

      • Are you one of these guys paid 5 mao per post?

        Seriously, it might be cheaper, but not at all faster or more reliable, especially if you aren't in Beijing, or Shanghai. And that's without talking about the countless blocks which the Chinese population has to deal with, making it even harder and slower to go online.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Internet service in China is far cheaper, faster, more reliable, and more pervasive than what you find in the USA

        Pervasive is just the word I'm looking for. Why, you may find you experience pervasive effects if you search for factual information on the country you live in!

        There are certainly downsides to authoritarian socialism, but building out public infrastructure isn't one of them.

        The existence of infrastructure is only as interesting as the purposes to which you are permitted to put it.

    • There's something you got to realize. Having 40 millions families connected to fiber in China, equals to have 2 major cities to switch to fiber. That's really doable.

      What's not right, is whey they say that 40 million families represent one-third of the country’s entire population. That's in fact one third of the CONNECTED entire population. That's a big difference.

      Apart from that, I'm totally with you concerning the "choice". China Telecom or China Unicom are both crap when it comes to internation
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The big joke though, is that even if you get fiber to the home, you only get 20 Mbits down, and ... tadaaaa ... 512 Kbits up! For that kind of connectivity, using fiber is overly stupid. ADSL is enough.

        And in ten years when you want to upgrade you would have to install fiber in every house. By install fiber in the houses you only need to upgrade the connection to the house later.
        Going for ADSL directly only makes sense if you plan to tear the house down within ten years.

    • Keep China's high population, the latter's geographical repartition (mostly to the east), its economy's high growth rates by western standards, and the fact that it's a developing country (still under-equipped) all in mind. Not to mention its government's authoritarianism. In that light, 40 million connected households in two years is not unrealistic imho.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Synerg1y (2169962)
      It's a lot easier & cheaper to deploy infrastructure where there is none rather than replace existing infrastructure. It'll add cost to building the homes & laying the fiber, but it'll ultimately be a lot cheaper than doing it later. I'd like to see more countries follow suite actually minus the human rights problems that China always seems to be at the epicenter of.
    • by Bengie (1121981)

      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.

      Average family size is a hair over 4. 40mil families is about 160mil people, or about 1/8 of their population. I could be missing something.

    • by leenks (906881)

      40 million is one third of the country's population? Someone can't read decimals - it's more like 3% of the population.

      http://worldpopulationreview.com/population-of-china-2012/ [worldpopul...review.com]

    • I live in Shanghai half time, and have 50 Mbps fiber to my apartment. And the VPN router I brought over from the US not only keeps prying eyes off my pipe, it lets me consume Hulu, Youtube, Netflix, and music streaming sources without an issue. Fiber's readily available in most of the bigger cities already, this is a pretty small step forward.
    • Why would they fake something like that? Remember, if you're building a brand new building from the ground up, and you aren't terribly hung up on maintaining official certifications, single-mode fiber is cheaper per foot than Home Depot-quality cat6 cable (copper is shockingly expensive now). Fiber doesn't really get expensive (in new construction) until you actually go to TERMINATE it... and that's an expense you can defer until the day you really *have* to.

      As for the great firewall and duopoly, both are s

    • It is not 2-3 companies. It is just one company. They are all owned and controlled by the same group: Chinese gov.
    • by Above (100351)

      If you look at some [wikipedia.org] of their [wikipedia.org] other infrastructure [latimes.com] projects connecting 40M homes by 2015 is an almost trivial task.

    • Though most large companies are state-own, it doesn't mean they are more monopolistic or less competing than the private duopolies we have. For examples, after their only airline that was known for bad services was broken into many state-own airlines, each of them have become much more efficient and provide good services and prices driven by the market. The two telcos were not known for bad services within their own customers; rather they set up barrier between them so trying to keep customers from leaving

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      They are Communist - what did you expect?
  • Sounds good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crazyjj (2598719) * on Friday January 11, 2013 @01:51PM (#42560299)

    in any city or county 'where a public fiber optic telecom network is available.'

    Any how many of these houses will meet that rather essential qualification?

    Hell, I could install a fiber network in my house and run it out to the curb. But that isn't going to make any difference if there is nothing to connect it to, now is it?

    • by nschubach (922175)

      Currently, the only cities with high speed fiber connectivity include Chenggong, Zhengzhou, and even Nova Cidade de Kilamba, in Africa.

      • by Sique (173459)
        Don't forget Geyer, Germany, which has a town wide fiber network since 25 years now.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I think it would be harder to name cities without highspeed fiber.

        You can get 1Gb links in damn near every city in the USA, provided you are willing to pay.

    • Any what word you might have missed?
  • This is one of the advantages of authoritarianism. If you have a good idea, you don't need to waste your time on democratic debate and procedures. You just impose it by decree on 1.2 billion people. Nice.

    There are some other things that all new homes should have: Sensors to turn off the lights where the room is empty, higher R insulation (most building codes require much less than actually makes sense), and brackets for solar panels so when the cost of solar panels falls to a reasonable level, the brack

    • I wish this kind of authoritarianism was there to dictate IPv6 adoption in every country though.
    • by spinkham (56603) on Friday January 11, 2013 @02:12PM (#42560543)

      We have authoritarianism, it just gets its power from corporate lobbing and campaign donations instead.

      NC started a few public fiber in some towns, so Time Warner lobbied and made broadband operating as any other public utility illegal [muninetworks.org], ignoring the protests of many local tech businesses and even the FCC [arstechnica.com].

    • by Nkwe (604125)

      This is one of the advantages of authoritarianism. If you have a good idea, you don't need to waste your time on democratic debate and procedures. You just impose it by decree on 1.2 billion people. Nice.

      Another advantage with having one standardized information pipe to everyone's house is that is is much easier to standardize the monitoring and control as well.

  • Bear in mind that China is building lots of new apartment buildings. This says "wire them with optical fiber, not CAT-5". The cost isn't that different. It's probably cheaper to have a big pipe to a building rather than multiconductor phone cables.

  • meaningless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday January 11, 2013 @02:04PM (#42560441)
    "ll newly built residences to install fiber optic connections in any city or county 'where a public fiber optic telecom network is available"

    Duh. if the network IS AVAILABLE of course it will be installed. The cost is negligible if you do it with the other services.

    This is just some bureaucrats trying to take credit for something that's already happening.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday January 11, 2013 @02:06PM (#42560467) Homepage

    Just about all residential buildings are poured concrete. This includes the walls which carry the load. Most AC wiring is done externally. Fuck up an internal wiring run, and you might not be able to fish it out. This leaves installing external conduit as your only form of repair. The idea of running glass is a smart move as it doesn't suffer from corrosion, attenuation, and interference like twisted pair or coax would.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      That sounds like commercial construction.

      So there should be nothing like romex or bare cat5 anywhere to be seen. It should all be run through conduits so that it can be maintained and repaired like any other building that falls under commercial construction codes.

      So what they run during initial construction should be pretty irrelevant so long as there is proper conduit laid for communications.

  • Small number? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Friday January 11, 2013 @02:18PM (#42560603) Homepage Journal
    Describe "small?" There's something like 20 million homes in the U.S. with a fibre internet connection. Not anything near the penetration of copper cable modems, but also nothing to ignore.
  • by leplen (2469676)
    The article claims '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.'

    Since when is 40 million families 1/3 of 1.3 billion people? How big are these families? Either there should be another zero and it should be 400 million people, or this 1/3 claim is bogus.

    40 million families represents ~10% of China's population, no where near 1/3.

  • I wish that they would do this sort of thing here but I just know that what would happen is that the government would cave into lobbyists that would then set up the regulations that didn't boil down to houses needing to have a fiber hook up but to pay the telcos to have fiber. Then the telcos could call it "building infrastructure" instead of "lining pockets".

    But instead of creating the conditions for all people/companies to thrive the government they will keep trying to pick winners. In my area the gover
  • I thought the new rule is every new home must have a single point of connection to the internet via a Huawei router, with firmware version more recent than 8.2.2012.build 1346- known in the industry as the Beiging T Tap version.
  • In Portugal it's mandatory since 2009 to equip new buildings with fiber optic cabling from the front door to each apartment, two fibers for every client, and a telecom cabinet housing equipment ready to be connected to the service provider.
  • The lesson is...? (Score:4, Informative)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Friday January 11, 2013 @03:07PM (#42561257) Journal

    If the point is to point out that a fascist totalitarian state can implement broad policies more efficiently, then that's not news; the Romans understood that since 249BC when they appointed Aulus Atilius Calatinus as dictator.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_dictator [wikipedia.org]

    But even the Romans understood that there were likely some unpleasant consequences to be found living in a totalitarian state. But hey, they probably had the best internet access times of anyone in the ancient world, right?

    • by tnk1 (899206)

      Actually, dictators can legislate policies much more easily, but they are not always best at the actual execution.

      Nazi Germany, for instance, was extremely inefficient, particularly because one facet of the system is that Hitler played various high officials off one another to make sure they never got enough power to cause problems. That also had the effect of relegating needed war projects to the ability of their patron to oversee completion, while fending off constant attempts at back stabbing.

      Hitler him

  • We have, effectively, the same thing happening in Saskatchewan. Sasktel is the one and only true telephone provider in the province and it's mandated that every lot must have a connection with them (you don't have to pay for their service, but their wires must run to your house). They've recently introduced their fibre-to-the-premises service that will supersede existing connections. All new houses in our two largest cities are now getting fibre connections; old neighbourhoods are being converted one-by-

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