Beijing Scene, Volume 5, Issue 11, June 4 - 10

China Internet


more on the paper

A guide to local Internet Service Providers

From Phnom Penh to Patagonia, Internet cafes and free email services have made it possible for anyone with a little bit of spare change to get online. Beijing is no exception. If you don't want to buy, rent or steal a computer, there are Internet cafe's all over the city. With a free web-based email account, you can send and receive email from anywhere in the world, although in China slow connection speeds make web-based email impractical for people who need to be in constant electronic communication.

If you have your own computer with a modem but don't want to sign up for an Internet account, Capital Online offers immediate dial up access with no prepayments and no registration formalities. Charges are added to your phone bill like a premium phone service. With night time and weekend rates of 0.10 per minute and 0.15 for peak hours, Capital Online is highly economical if you don't spend huge amounts of time online.

To use this service configure your dialup software to dial 2631 and set user name and password both as 263. That's it. In addition, Capital Online has done away with the necessity of registering for an email address - you can use either Hotmail-style web-based email or you can get a free POP email account at their website ( The latter option means that you can download and organize email and attachments with software like Eudora or Microsoft Outlook instead of having to look at your messages along with a bunch of advertising on the web. The drawbacks of using Capital Online are high cost for those who spend long periods online, and unpredictable connection speeds: thousands of Chinese teenagers using their parents' phone lines can slow things up for everybody.

If you do a lot of websurfing and need a reliable, stable connection, you will probably want to use one of the other Internet Service Providers listed below:

Beijing Telecommunications Administration (BTA)
11 Xichang'an Avenue, Xicheng District
Tel: 6306-0779, Fax: 6302-3093

All private ISPs are hooked up to the Internet via the Beijing Telecommunications Administration's lines; they also offer Internet accounts to individual users. BTA also provide ISDN lines for really fast connections - at really steep prices. Dialup is usually prompt and trouble-free, although peak times (like 5 pm) can be slow. BTA maintains an office in the basement of the China World Trade Center where they accept applications and payment; the same can be done at the Beijing Telecom Building on West Chang'an Avenue.

Maximum modem speed: 56K
Cost: 100 initial fee; 100/month (10 hours),
300/month (75 hours)

Capital OnLine (263)
Tel: 6425-1436/7, 6425-1454; Fax: 6420-6328

Dialup service with no registration formalities. The fees are charged to your phone bill.

Maximum modem speed: 56K
Cost: 8 am-10 pm, 0.15/minute (9/hour);
10 pm-8 am, 0.10/minute (6/hour)

CENPOK Internet Technology Ltd.
6 Wanshou West Road, Haidian District
Tel: 6822-1778 ext. 113; Fax: 6827-7230

CENPOK also offers a local area network product called a DOD (Dial-on Demand) Server, which allows Internet access from any workstation on the network through the server, and allows each network user to have their own email address without having a separate Internet account.

Maximum modem speed: 33.6K
Cost: 7 am-7 pm, 4/hour; 7 pm-1 am, 3/hour;
1 am-7 am, 2/hour (100 deposit)

CHINA COMMERCIAL NETWORK (3CNET)/CHINA NET INFOTECH Beijing International Conference Center, Asian Games Village
Tel: 6496-1814, 6496-1817; Fax: 6493-3373

3CNET also offers other services such as ISDN lines, network management, software development, web hosting, etc.

Maximum modem speed: 33.6K
Cost: 100 initial fee; 4/hour; 100/month (30 hours);
300/month (90 hours)

185 Andingmenwai Avenue, Dongcheng District
Tel: 6426-2695,6426-2874/75/78 ext. 14; Fax: 6426-2685

China GBNET is a private ISP operated by Jitong Corporation with investment and consulting from UTStarcom (a US-based telecommunications company). Logging on can be problematic during office hours but the connections are reliable.

Maximum modem speed: 33.6K
Cost: 100 initial fee; 4/hour

Poly Plaza Bldg. 3 Dongsishitiao, Chaoyang District
Tel: 6501-1282, 6501-1291/2; Fax: 6501-9008

A private ISP that offers local access to Compuserve.

Maximum modem speed: 33.6K
Cost: 100 initial fee; 80/month (8 hours),
200/month (25hours), 400/month (50 hours);
or 8/hour ( 1,800 deposit), 6 /hour (1,200 deposit)

Room 517, Communications Bureau East Building, 11
Jianguomennei Avenue, Dongcheng District
Tel: 8207-6688 ext. 2

Eastnet offers a fast dialup service and can arrange temporary access to Compuserve and America Online.

Maximum modem speed: 56K
Cost: 130 initial fee, 4/hour (8 am-11 pm),
2 (11 pm-8 am)

Fuhua Building, 8 Chaoyangmen North Avenue, Chaoyang District
Tel: 6554-1775, 6554-1770/72/80 Fax: 6554-1773

Maslink offers Internet development services, user training and various online information services.

Maximum modem speed: 28.8K
Cost: 100 initial fee; 4/hour (8am-11 pm),
2/hour (11pm-8 am)

Capital Stadium Branch 54 Baishiqiao Lu, Haidian
Tel: 6833-5225
China World Trade Center Branch
Tel: 6505-2288 ext. 8209
1 Jianguomenwai Dajie
Tel: 6612-0671
Shengli Cinema Branch Xisi, Xicheng
Tel: 6263-2505
Qinghua University Branch 75 Chengfu Lu
Tel: 6857-8794
Wantong Century Market Branch First floor, 2 Fuwai Dajie
Tel: 6833-6161 ext. 13; Fax: 6831-2881

Sparkice has Internet cafes at several locations. (see Internet cafs in the Zhaole Daily Entertainment Guide) Accounts are simple to establish: just fill out an application at any Sparkice Internet caf and pre-pay for a block of hours. Some users complain of frequent cut-offs during downloads. Use of Sparkice Internet cafes' ultra-fast computers is 30 per hour.

Cost: 600/150 hours, 4/hour

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