A new broadband network has been launched to boost access to the Internet in remote and rural areas.
While broadband access is now taken for granted in standard office environments, many people face slow dial-up connections or even no access at all in some parts.
Project leaders behind Inmarsat's new Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) hope the new network will help improve access and reliability to communications systems across China.
"With Inmarsat's BGAN service, you can set up a broadband mobile office in minutes wherever you are on the planet," Yang Hongyi, director of the China Transport Telecommunications Center, said at a press conference to launch the service in Beijing yesterday.
With a single BGAN terminal, people can access data applications at speeds up to half a megabit and make a phone call at the same time, he said.
A terminal weighs less than 1 kilogram, which makes it more convenient to move, the press conference was told.
Yang described the business as a pioneering move to "herald a new era in broadband mobile telecommunications", saying BGAN will help professionals as well as everyday people in their work..
Journalists, military personnel, aid workers and other established users of mobile satellite communications are expected to be among those to benefit most.
"But other users, such as engineers, consultants and sales personnel anyone, in fact, who wants dependable, secure broadband access when traveling in locations with unreliable or no telecoms network will now be able to reap the benefits of mobile satellite communications," Yang said.
Peter Wang, a senior manager of a joint venture in Beijing, is one of those set to benefit from the service.
"I frequently fly to other countries for business negotiations or to do some research in remote areas, and a BGAN terminal would help me have free contact with my boss or my families anywhere," Wang said.
A BGAN terminal costs less than 50,000 yuan (US$6,165).
"The cost is comparatively high for most non-professionals," Yang said, "but we are confident the market is promising as more and more people are dependant on mobile communications in their work."
(China Daily December 22, 2005)