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May 2019

CHINA SHIFTS FROM CATV TO BROADBAND


China is re-aligning its national Cable TV Company - China Broadcasting Network Corp. (CBNC) from CATV to become a full-fledged telco. CBNC's realignment comes as the traditional cable TV business faces a tough challenge in the era of internet TV and streaming services, throwing up the need for operators to upgrade themselves and expand their services via 2-way interactive high-speed broadband infrastructure.

China Broadcasting Network Corp. was formed in 2014 by the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), by combining several regional cable TV operators.


China Is Reviving Its Cable TV Network Company To Become A 5G & Broadband Telco!


In 2016, China Broadcasting received a license to provide internet and telecom services.

Last month, the company announced strategic partnerships with CITIC Group and Alibaba Group to help speed up efforts for network upgrades.

Under the cooperation agreements, CBNC will receive assistance from CITIC and Alibaba "for integrated development and upgrading of the nation's cable TV networks as well as related product development and management," state news agency Xinhua reported.

China aims to make its national cable TV networks smarter and create new generation radio and TV technology infrastructure by integrating cable TV networks and letting 4K, 5G, IPv6, big data, artificial intelligence and quantum communications technologies play their roles, Nie Chenxi, the head of the NRTA, said at the signing ceremony.




BROADBAND VIA TELECOM

Currently, telecom operators like China Telecom and China Mobile offer fiber-to-the-home or fiber-to-thebuilding broadband networks, while cable network can only adopt a share-bandwidth approach. That has made it difficult for cable networks to compete with the fiber broadband operators.


DWINDLING CATV

China has seen cable TV subscribers falling in number after hitting a peak in 2016.

Last year, subscribers were estimated at 223 million, down 8.75% from a year ago. The industry has seen its profitability get constrained and profit margins decline amid the weak subscriber figures.

Meanwhile, IPTV and OTT video platforms had around 150 million users in 2018.


CITIC

CITIC is emerging as a key player in the reform of China's cable network. It owns CITIC Guoan network in Beijing, which is expanding its cable network operation across the nation. The conglomerate is also exploring new business models by teaming up with local cable operators to operate smart community service platforms for citizens.

Such experience puts CITIC in a good position to help integrate China's state-owned nationwide cable network into a single valuable backbone network to deliver high definition content to TV as well as mobile devices.


Cable Company Will Use Analog TV Spectrum For 5G Services



5G FOR CBNC

In November 2018, Chinese authorities permitted China Broadcasting to build 5G networks.

China Broadcasting is preparing to launch a mobile network using the 700MHz spectrum band. The spectrum is currently being used for domestic analogue television broadcasting. Now, China Broadcasting and CITIC have formed a joint venture, China Broadcasting Network Mobile, to operate a mobile business on 700Mhz band.

As the low-band 700MHz spectrum can have better network coverage compared with other frequency bands, the joint venture will be in a good position to provide better coverage for high speed mobile internet using 5G technology. n