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China telecom industry faces huge bill after snow: state media

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 10, 2008
China's telecom industry faces a huge bill after the worst winter in decades, with millions of users cut off and thousands of kilometres of phone lines damaged, state media said Sunday.

Preliminary statistics from the Ministry of Information Industry showed the massive snow falls and freezing temperatures have led to losses of 1.1 billion yuan (150 million dollars), the Xinhua news agency reported.

Although the weather has turned for the better, 10 million mobile and fixed-line subscribers were still unable to use their phones as of late Friday, according to the agency.

A total of 10,000 mobile phone base stations remain out of service, and for fixed-line services, 150,000 poles have collapsed while 16,000 kilometres (10,000 miles) of lines have been damaged, Xinhua said.

It reported that 80,000 telecom industry workers had fanned out across the country to seek to restore services as Lunar New Year, the most important holiday of the year, added to the demand for telecom services.

China had 547 million mobile phone subscribers and 365 million users of fixed-line services at the end of last year, according to government data.

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Tajikistan rations power supplies to capital in big freeze
Dushanbe (AFP) Feb 8, 2008
Tajikistan's authorities drastically rationed electricity supplies to the capital Dushanbe on Friday in response to a severe cold snap that has paralysed the ex-Soviet republic's power grid.

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