China is looking to expand its internet 'backbone' for better reliability and faster connection times, IT World reports. Although the country is revoking access to some foreign online services, it is also laying more fiber optic cables to improve its internal connectivity to global internet networks.
In fact, China very recently increased its connectivity to the world's internet backbone with seven new access points—increasing on the already existing three points based in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. These seven access points were announced earlier this month by the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
As part of the network expansion, China has laid over 3,000 kilometers worth of fiber optic cable and invested around $477 million for the construction of the cables. The forerunners driving the project forward are China's three state-run telecom operators—responsible for providing the majority of Chinese broadband services.
The improvement to China's internet infrastructure will not only improve access speeds across the country, but also help to ensure that the internet stays functional and is reliable. The Chinese ministry noted that previously "a failure at one access point could easily cause a large-scale paralysis"; with these added access points, however, "the traffic going through Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou will lessen, and the internet flow overall will be more balanced."
The majority of the new access points have been built inland at cities such as Chengdu, Xi'an and Zhengzhou. Initial testing shows that the loading times for websites has been improved by 50% or more.
China has one of the world's largest online populations, at around 600 million online users.