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MII Has Larger Purview

An updated and clearer telecom infrastructure management code went into effect on Friday.

According to the code, jointly issued by the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC), companies must get MII's approval before constructing telecom or cable broadcasting networks.

The code states that MII, China's telecom regulator, will have regulatory and management responsibilities for the infrastructure of public telecom networks, private telecom networks and those of the cable broadcasting.

"The code is consistent with the government's standardization of the telecom market,'' an MII spokesman said.

The cable broadcasting networks represent a major move forward in the new code, industry insiders said.

The cable networks, which transmit TV programs to more than 90 million Chinese families, are under management of the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT), not MII.

The new code states MII must approve construction of the cable networks.

The management convergence of telecom networks and cable broadcasting networks is unavoidable, said Yang Peifang, an expert at the China Academy of Telecom Research.

"Sooner or later, a telecom authority will take charge of regulations to all transmission networks, including both telecom and cable,'' Yang said.

The code cited overseas capital in the basic infrastructure for the first time.

According to China's promise to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the basic telecom market, including network construction, will gradually open to overseas companies.

They must also obey the code and all the other telecom regulations, MII said.

With the code, officials aim to better use transmission resources, ensure a fair marketplace and encourage competition.

Lured by rich profits from the telecom field, many companies were illegally involved in network construction in recent years.

(China Daily February 2, 2002)

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