Chinese Government announces plans for 5G networks and secure quantum communication backbone network

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in China announced (link in Chinese) three major information infrastructure projects on November 27. This is in line with China’s 13th Five-Year plan and the ‘Broadband China’ strategy. The Five-Year plan states that the government will ensure that home broadband subscribers in large and medium cities have flexibility in choosing services in excess of 100 Mbps, while for rural areas, 98% of administrative villages are linked up to fiber optic networks, with 100 Mbps or higher access service capabilities available in areas where conditions permit. More than half of rural home broadband subscribers have flexibility in choosing services in excess of 50 Mbps. There is a target of increasing the percentage of households with fixed broadband from 40% in 2015 to 70% by 2020.

100 Mbps optical fibre in central and western regions

The first project involves enhancing access to optical fiber broadband with 100 Mbps capacity in the central and western regions of the country. The project will be implemented by country and will require all villages within the county to have achieved optical fibre access. The regions' access capability to broadband will need to reach 12 Mbps.

The proportion of FTTH (fiber to the home) users in rural areas should account for more than 50%, with the proportion of FTTH ports to total broadband access ports not less than 60 %. At least 90% of existing broadband users will need to have speeds of 100 Mbps or more, while over 50% of new broadband users in rural areas are supposed to have speeds of over 50 Mbps.

5G networks

Municipalities, capital cities and major city clusters in Pearl River, Yangtze River delta areas, and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will launch the construction of 5G networks, covering the urban areas including indoor environments to provide continuous coverage. This project will be carried out in a minimum of 5 cities, with each city having at least fifty 5G base stations. Users will be provided with no less than 100 Mbps, millisecond delay 5G broadband data services, with the capability of supporting at least 4K HD video, augmented reality, virtual reality, UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles or drones) and other typical 5G services and applications.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has been assigned responsibility for co-ordination and implementation of the project.

China Daily reported on November 25 that the country has started the third phase of 5G technology research and development tests, ahead of schedule. The second phase of tests concluded earlier this year, with contributions from both domestic and foreign companies such as Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson.These tests aim to get pre-commercial 5G products ready when the first version of 5G standards comes out in June next year.  This is part of China's push to commercialise 5G services in 2020.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has called for more efforts to upgrade testing environments and a bigger push to experiment with more 5G-enabled applications, with added focus on the integration of chips, systems and other instruments.

Secure quantum communication network

Building on the successful experiments conducted by the quantum communications satellite, Micius, and the quantum fiber link between Beijing and Shanghai, a secure quantum communication backbone network will be set up in the key strategic areas of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and the Yangtze River economic zone. Some cities will establish satellite earth stations.

A 2,000-kilometer quantum fiber link connecting Beijing and Shanghai was launched on September 29, allowing unhackable communication between the cities. In July it was reported that researchers at the Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology had successfully completed testing a quantum communication network connecting Communist Party and government bodies in Jinan.

The Government will establish a quantum secure communications network operation service system and further promote its application in the fields of information and communication, government affairs, finance and utilities. The quantum key generation rate between any two adjacent points on the trunk line will be greater than 16kbps. The average fault recovery time will not be more than 6 hours and the backbone network overall service availability will be at least 99.99%.

The Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission will be responsible for the first phase of construction of the national wide-area quantum secure communications backbone network. Based on making use of existing infrastructure, and research and feasibility studies, it will make the project proposal.

The physical properties of quantum entangled particles are correlated and the correlation persists regardless of the distance separating them. Distribution of entangled particles over large distances could be used to establish unhackable communications via quantum cryptography. Any attempt at eavesdropping would be detected as a measurement on one of two entangled objects would break the entanglement correlation.

Featured image: Groman123/ CC BY-SA 2.0

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