Some 280 Chinese farmers are on the verge of getting access to television for the first time, with a new-generation satellite system going into operation in 2006, according to a report.
Two satellites for radio and television broadcasting will be launched before the end of 2006, giving vast tracts of the country access to state-run TV programming, the Xinhua news agency said.
One of the satellites will be manufactured by China Satcom and the other by Alcatel Space, a wholly-owned subsidiary of satellite giant Alcatel, after the companies inked a contract to design and produce the equipment.
Chinasat 9, which is scheduled to be launched atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket, will enable 97 per cent of Chinese residents to receive satellite broadcasting signals with the help of an antenna.
However, they still will not be able to watch foreign programs such as CNN and BBC which are restricted to diplomatic compounds, top hotels and some office buildings.
China has hundreds of television stations, with China Central Television the dominant network.