China says its push to bring modern communications technology to impoverished villages is having an effect on standards of living.
Over 98 per cent of villages once plagued by poverty have gained access to broadband – and the effects are beginning to be seen.
After gaining access to broadband Internet Shibazi village, in Ningqiang county in northwest China's Shaanxi province, has found new sales channels for local specialties – and lifted all 165 poor households in the village out of poverty (out of 600) last year, according to Luo Xinfang, secretary of the Communist Party of China branch in the village.
"The remote village has been covered by 100MB broadband. It's very fast," Luo says, with the village benefitting from a fibre-optic network in the county.
Official data shows that, since 2015 China's central government and basic telecom operators have accumulatively invested over 60 billion yuan ($9.28 billion) in the construction of fibre-optic network in 43,000 villages once subject to poverty and the construction of 4G base stations in more than 9200 once poverty-stricken villages.
Thanks to the introduction of a better communications network, Beldron, a 26-year-old villager in Nyingchi city, has been able to promote a stone pot produced by the county's cooperative through live streaming.
"This is our stone pot. You'll know how great it is when you have a taste of our local specialties cooked with it," Beldron said during a live-streaming show held to promote the stone pot in a store of the cooperative. Over 20 stone pots can be sold during one live streaming show, Beldron told the People's Daily.
Guan Jinlan, a once poor resident in Weining Yi, Hui and Miao autonomous county, Bijie, southwest China's Guizhou province, is excited about the convenience brought about by communication network: "My child is working in south China's Guangzhou. In the past, we often got interrupted during phone calls due to a weak signal.
"Now we have a better communications network, I can not only enjoy better quality of phone calls, but video chat with my child," she said. "I never expected I would one day video chat with my child."
More than 99 per cent of the administrative villages in southwest China's Tibet autonomous region have been covered by fibre-optic and 4G networks. They have broken the boundary of space, and allowed new information, technologies and services to reach remote areas at the earliest possible time, said an official with China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
While ensuring residents in rural areas have access to communication networks, the MIIT has intensified efforts to provide them with more affordable and higher-quality communication networks.
The ministry has also effectively cut the cost of the use of communication network for residents and advanced the wide application of Internet for poverty relief.
The MIIT has launched a programme encouraging basic telecom operators to introduce favourable broadband packages for poverty-stricken residents and areas, to increase broadband speed and lower rates for Internet services.
Over 12m previous registered poor households have enjoyed such targeted packages, among which more than 7m were offered 50 per cent or higher discounts on network charges.
Now rural areas in China have gained access to the same network and Internet connection speed as urban areas, including regions that suffered from extreme poverty, while once poor areas in the country are seeing significant improvement in communications infrastructure.
This article was originally produced and published by People's Daily Online.
View the original at en.people.cn