China regulator proposes national cable operator (caixin)

7 August 2012 11 h 18 min Comments Off

State Council reviews proposal for nationwide firm for operations. The broadcasting regulator has submitted a proposal to the State Council for the establishment of a national company to lead the integration of China cable networks.

The move is the latest step toward long-planned integration of media networks. The plan, proposed by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), is awaiting State Council review, a source close to the situation said.

Funding for the new company would mainly come from the Ministry of Finance. To create the new company, local cable assets would gradually be merged, the source said.

“Local cable operators can invest in the new company based on their willingness, but eventually all the assets will be consolidated,” the source said.

The plan to establish a national cable company was initiated in early 2010, when the State Council issued a policy to combine the China’s TV, telecom and Internet networks by 2015. Wang Xiaojie, general director of the science and technology division of General Administration of Press and Publication, said in June 2010 that SARFT had started drafting plans for the new company and seeking funding and government support. The new company was expected to be established in three years.

The 2010 policy for media network integration calls for creating a nationwide, integrated network that provides customer access to high-speed Internet, TV and radio through any terminal, while combining data transfer, cable TV and telecom services.

The State Council said restructuring should be done in two phases.

. From 2010 to 2012, a trial program is being conducted to connect the broadcasting and telecoms networks.

. Basic architecture for the overall integration of the networks will be put in place from 2013 to 2015.

So far, 25 municipalities and provinces have basically completed local integration of cable networks, but a national combination can be finished in another five years, said Wu Chunyong, chief of dwrh.net, a web portal focusing on network integration researches.

“The creation of a national cable company would push forward the unification of national standards for the broadcasting industry”, Wu said.

However, the industry will still need government protection for a certain period because it is difficult to compete with telecoms operators in the short term. Telecom operators have cooperated with video content providers to expand their broadband video businesses, posing competitions to broadcasters.

“The broadcasting industry needs to seek internal motivation and hasten work on standard drafting,” Wu said. “It needs to work out a complete industry chain covering technology and content production.”

Source: Caixin Online (06/08/2012)

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