Shanghai is the most wired city in China. There are two principal methods of obtaining high-speed Internet access (China Telecom and Great Wall – see below).
China Telecom Internet Service
It is suggested that expats connect their computer to the Internet via an Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) provided by China Telecom. You simply visit them at any of their many offices in Shanghai and arrange for access to the Internet. You will need to choose the speed you want and decide whether to pay monthly or annually. This is by far the easiest way to acquire high speed access. In Shanghai, call 10000 to reach the China Telecom service hotline – you will have an option for an English-speaker. Make the arrangement for your Internet service directly with them.
The area you are living in must meet the installation requirements and ADSL ports should be available. Check with their call center near your address.
Their website is not incredibly helpful, but you can browse it for information on services available and bundling options. Visit http://sh.189.cn/en.
Great Wall Broadband Service
Great Wall Broadband does not need YOU to take the trouble to install it. They make deals with the real estate company and build the network cable inside the walls of newly built apartments. Check with your property management company to see if Great Wall Broadband is available in your property. If it is installed, then all you need to do is to call them to enable your account and plug a network cable into the network port on your wall. If it is not installed, then you will have to choose China Telecom. There is no installation fee if it is already installed when you move in.
If you decide to dial direct via a modem, you will need an ISP, or Internet Service Provider. Rates vary, so you should check around. In this case, you will have to pay the ISP monthly charge on top of your phone bill.
Cyber Café & Public Internet Access Points
Shanghai has quite a few cyber cafes – more than 1,600, using the city’s estimate in 2008 — but many are illegal and almost all are smoke filled and unpleasant. They mainly exist for playing MMORPG, not for any “more serious” use. Your best option is having a coffee in any of the venues that offer free Wi-fi service.
A normal hourly rate for use of the Internet is 10 RMB. The Nangka Café listed below is legitimate, or you could go to the Shanghai Library, where there is a large public internet access room.
- Nangka Cafe
209 Fuxing Middle Road
- Shanghai Library
1555 Huaihai Zhong Lu
Tel: 6445 5555