Beijing: China is planning to provide internet access to almost all of its poor villages in the next three years as part of efforts to narrow the urban-rural digital gap.

More than 98 per cent of China's 122,900 registered poor villages will have access to the internet by 2020, according to a plan published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The ministry will work to provide both broadband and 4G data network to the villages, and encourage telecom operators to offer special discounts on network charges to provide quality internet services at a low cost, reported Xinhua news agency.

It also plans to ask cell phone producers to develop more low-priced, easy-to-use smart phones.

China had 1.08 billion 4G network users at the end of April, while fixed-broadband subscribers to the country's three major telecom operators -- China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile -- reached 366 million.