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Abstract

Governments today have a strong interest in promoting the development of the next-generation broadband networks. Some 134 national broadband plans are now in place around the world, and China is no exception. On August 1, 2013, China's State Council officially announced the ambitious Broadband China Plan with which it aims to build a ubiquitous, fast, and advanced national broadband network before 2020. Will the Broadband China Plan lead to another leap forward? In this paper, I critically evaluate China's recent broadband policy. I argue that China's plan marks a major paradigm shift in China’s information policy. For the first time, the country has formally recognized a broadband network as a strategic public facility and considered it as a necessity rather than an optional value-added telecommunications service. However, it remains a conventional supply-side industrial policy, and its effectiveness is highly uncertain.

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