State Administration of Radio, Film and Television Vice-Minister Zhang Haitao said banks would issue low-cost, long-term loans worth billions of RMB to speed rollout of digital TV services via set-top boxes in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other big centers. The rollout aims to widen access to distance learning and internet services. Zhang said development banks had been studying the market for months and urged operators to focus on data services instead of rechanneling foreign TV programming. IMS Research estimates digital set-top box shipments to the mainland will go from 3.9 million last year to more than 20 million in 2008.
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