BEIJING, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Ninety-eight percent of administrative villages in China's Tibet Autonomous Region will have optical fibre communication thanks to a universal telecom service project.
The target is expected to be accomplished by the end of this year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Since 2016, pilot programs have been carried out to provide over 5,000 villages in the vast region with universal access to broadband services and faster optical fibre connection.
All the administrative villages in Tibet will be connected with broadband under the project, which is estimated to cost 3 billion yuan (471 million U.S. dollars), according to the ministry.
"The newly-established network has greatly enriched entertainment for local farmers and herdsmen, informed them of the latest knowledge and news, and enabled them to stay in touch with family members via video calls," said the ministry.
The universal telecom service project is part of China's poverty alleviation efforts in Tibet.
From 2016 to 2020, Tibet is investing over 200 billion yuan to eradicate poverty, with 90 percent of the investment going into infrastructure and poverty-relief projects in the poorest areas.
The telecom project has linked 1,452 administrative villages in deep-poverty areas into the optical fibre network in 2017, with another 955 ready for broadband connection this year.
"China's efforts in promoting universal telecom services are significant in narrowing its digital gap," said Wen Ku, director of the telecom development department at the ministry.
The country aims to speed up broadband coverage and bring down Internet rates, and achieve high-speed broadband access in both urban and rural areas, according to this year's government work report.
"More will be done to promote broadband access in impoverished villages to facilitate poverty alleviation," Wen said.