Internet Service in Beijing
Dial-up modem access is available by using an Internet Service Provider. No sign-up is required for ISP’s, instead, the charges will be added on to your monthly phone bill. You pay both the phone company (1.2 RMB per hour of usage) and ISP provider through your monthly bill. You can simply configure your dial-up software to use these popular ISPs:
- 95963 (user name and password are both 263; 0.07 RMB/min)
- 16900 (user name and password are both 169; 0.05 RMB/min)
- 95933 (user name and password are both 18; 0.07 RMB/min, for not more than 48 RMB per month)
Registering for an ADSL account requires the person on the deed to the property (your landlord) to go to your local area’s internet provider to sign up for service. If you own your home, visit one of Beijing Telecom’s service centers (with passport or shenfenzheng ID Card), apply online (http://www.bjtelecom.net – Chinese only) or call the service number 10000 (no English service available). It can take a few weeks for a technician to come and set it up. Plans differ from 512k, 1MB, or 2 MB unlimited, limited hours-per-month, or pay-by-the minute plan. Fixed plans are about RMB 29 per 30 hours, and unlimited plans are available (e.g. RMB 120 for 512KB, RMB 150 for 1MB). The pay-as-you-go plan charges RMB 0.05 per minute. Quality depends on proximity to a switching station and the wiring of the building. Connection speeds to sites outside of China can vary greatly.
Wireless Internet (WiFi)
Free WiFi is often offered in cafes (Starbucks included), restaurants, and bars. Many are open networks and some are available to paying customers via a login and password given to patrons after they’ve ordered. Many of the places that advertise as having free WiFi even offer power strips if there are no outlets near your table.
Internet cafes are ubiquitous throughout China. The hourly charge varies from 3-10 RMB depending on location, service, etc. You’ll find yourself in a large, often smoky room, among students who use the cafes to play video games and socialize. An alternative to this is finding a hotel and using their business center for internet access. However, prices will be steep—as much as 20RMB per 10 minutes.