According to the website for China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, the Ministry of Information Industry and SARFT have jointly released a new rule to go into effect at the end of January 2008.

The rule is called "Regulations for Online Audio and Video Services" and provides detailed stipulations on the market access of online audio and video programs and require that they must be owned by state-owned enterprises and companies in which the government has some ownership. Based on this rule, all Internet audio and video providers must apply for licenses to operate in China through their local agencies, but SARFT will have the ultimate authority to appove or deny those licenses.

There are other stipulations, such as online content must be kept online for at least 60 days and companies can not re-broadcast audio or video that comes from "illegal" websites.

This new rule marks a first tangible step in the combination of the telecom network, radio, television and the Internet in China.

At present, there are four main telecom enterprises in China. Among them, China Telecom and China Netcom run fixed telephone and Internet services; China Mobile runs mobile communications services; and China Unicom operates comprehensive services based on mobile communications services.

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