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Monday
May282012

Greedy developers holding back China fibre rollout

China’s optical fibre rollout – worth $58 billion this year – is being held up by property developers charging extortionate ‘access fees’. 

Provincial telecom officials complained at a national conference on telecom infrastructure Friday that operators can’t get access to new residential developments, malls, airports and other new sites because of “obstruction” and price-gouging by developers.

According to the state-owned China News service, developers are taking advantage of competition between carriers and forcing them to pay high prices to run fibre into new buildings. In return some operators are demanding exclusive access.

Officials from Guangdong, Shanghai and Yunnan described it as the biggest obstacle to the national fibre buildout.

MIIT vice-minister Shang Bing, who spoke at the conference, acknowledged that the cost of local access was becoming "increasingly high because of unfair competition," but did not say what the ministry would do about it.

The MIIT reportedly issued advice last month stating it was illegal for operators to sign “unauthorised agreements” with site owners. Clearly this is one more rule that is not being enforced.

China News said the MIIT was in talks with the Ministry of Housing & Urban-Rural Development on a new building code which will give telcos the same access rights as power and water companies.

Shang said this year’s FTTH rollout will be worth 370 billion yuan ($58.3bn), up 10% over 2011.

 

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