During the Information and Communication Technology and Urban Development Forum, the first official forum of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, held in Ningbo, Zhejiang, an official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, revealed that China’s convergence of its three networks may cover all cities in three to five years.

The convergence of three networks is a broad term. It does not mean the physical combination of the telecom, Internet, and broadcasting networks, instead it is the integration of high-level business applications among those three sections of communications. It features the convergence of technologies, interconnection of the high level areas of the networks to achieve a seamless coverage and interpenetration of services. By technology upgrades, the three networks can provide comprehensive multimedia communications services, including voice, data, and images.

At present, the State Council is actively promoting this project. On January 13, 2010, China’s premier Wen Jiabao hosted a State Council executive meeting and decided to accelerate the convergence of telecom, Internet, and broadcasting networks, officially putting this project on the official agenda.

In March 2010, Li Yizhong, director of MIIT, said in an interview that the pilot program for the convergence of the three networks would be launched in May and put into operation in June 2010. According to the plan of the government, from 2010 to 2012, China will focus on the mutual access testing between the broadcasting network and the telecom network; and from 2013 to 2015, the country will fully realize the integrated development of the three networks and establish a new supervision system that is suitable for the integration of the three networks.

Commenting on the latest progress of the project, the official said that the MIIT is now handling related work about the pilot program and it is going smoothly. He told local media if no obstacle appears, the coverage of the project may be faster than expected, and it can be completed in three years at least and five years at most.