China to set up cable TV network operator

The China Radio and Television Network will soon be established after years of preparation, although it will have much to do in integrating the provincial broadcasting networks and operators.

China is putting the finishing touches to establishing its national cable TV operator, China Radio and Television Network, which will be run by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) with initial capital from the Ministry of Finance. 

A report posted on China-focused site Marbridge Daily Thursday said China's State Council has approved the SARFT's plans to create the cable TV company, according to an unnamed source. The Ministry of Finance will pump in 4 billion yuan (US$ ) into the new business, although there has been no confirmation of earlier rumors that China's other three operators will invest funds in it.

Once the China Radio and Television Network is created, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) will release a revised Catalog of Telecommunications Service Categories and issue a domestic broadband access operator license to the company, it added.

In a separate report on the site, the entity will have to complete the integration of provincial broadcasting networks and operators as well as fund upgrades to network infrastructure once it is officially registered.

This proposed national cable TV operator has been in the works since 2010, although it was originally to be operational by end of that year. The SARFT announced it would bring about 1,000 of its regional radio and TV networks under the banner of a single, national cable TV network in order to better integrate its telecommunications, Internet and broadcasting systems.

The SARFT did not get the investment fund of 80 billion yuan (US$11.8 billion) it proposed to the State Council though, which was to have been contributed by both the government and broadcast and television companies.  

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