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Olympic Media Village – Most Expensive Internet In the World? 389

An anonymous reader writes "Working for the Olympics as an IT contractor, I recently moved to the Media Village (where all of the reporters live) and was surprised the there was no free internet. BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee of the 2008 Olympic Games) is charging a ridiculous amount of money for ADSL service: for 512/512 it costs 7712.5 RMB (1131.20 USD); for 1M/512 it costs 9156.25 (1342.95 USD); for 2M/512 it costs a whopping 11,700 RMB (1716.05 USD). That is for only one month! For extra features like a fixed IP? That costs an additional 450 RMB (66 USD). I just can't believe that not only do I have to deal with the Great Firewall of China, but also pay through the nose to use it!"
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Olympic Media Village – Most Expensive Internet In the World?

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  • by ForestGrump ( 644805 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:04AM (#24364979) Homepage Journal

    Possibly because at those rates, nobody can afford to comment! Media censorship has succeeded again!

    • nw chrgs sk (Score:5, Funny)

      by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:23AM (#24365095)

      F u china gvnmt.i rly wld lk to sy mre thn jst ths fw wrds bt th hgh chrgs ar nt afdble. f nly i cld b bl t wrt tht i dsprve ntrly f ths hgh chrgs i wldnt hv 2 b abrvted nd cd say f i hv bn absd or trtred o not. f i cd offrd 2 tll f i hv bn trtrd trst m i wld jst sy t. nywy i wl hv 2 snf nw bcz i m lt fr a prtst mrch in tinman sqr. i shld b bck sn, sry i hd 2 mk ths so shrt. nxt tm i wl c f i cn gt a discnt o nt. i wl c. ltrs bb, bckslsdt .. b th wy, i wt dd u tnk f th btmn mvie? t ws wmsm u rly shldc c t f u gt th chnce. hth ldgr ws gd, i thnk oscr 4 sre, nt jst ot f smpthy. nwy i wl c u ltr, b b, \.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        F u china gvnmt.i rly wld lk to sy mre thn jst ths fw wrds bt th hgh chrgs ar nt afdble. f nly i cld b bl t wrt tht i dsprve ntrly f ths hgh chrgs i wldnt hv 2 b abrvted nd cd say f i hv bn absd or trtred o not. f i cd offrd 2 tll f i hv bn trtrd trst m i wld jst sy t. nywy i wl hv 2 snf nw bcz i m lt fr a prtst mrch in tinman sqr. i shld b bck sn, sry i hd 2 mk ths so shrt. nxt tm i wl c f i cn gt a discnt o nt. i wl c. ltrs bb, bckslsdt .. b th wy, i wt dd u tnk f th btmn mvie? t ws wmsm u rly shldc c t f u gt th chnce. hth ldgr ws gd, i thnk oscr 4 sre, nt jst ot f smpthy. nwy i wl c u ltr, b b, \.

        I tried to translate that for some informative karma but failed, sorry \.

        • Re:nw chrgs sk (Score:4, Informative)

          by Projectuprising ( 1332559 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:54AM (#24365551)
          The bad grammar is the fault of the original, not mine ;)

          TITLE: New charges suck

          Fuck you China Government. I really would like to say more than just these few words, but the high charges are not affordable.

          If only I could be able to write that I disapprove entirely of these high charges I wouldn't have to be abbreviated and could say if I have been abused or tortured or not.

          If I could afford to tell if I have been tortured trust me I would just say it.

          Anyway I will have to sign off now because I'm late for a protest march in Tianamen Square.

          I should be back soon, sorry I had to make this so short.

          Next time I will see if I can get a discount or not.

          Laters, bye bye \.

          By the way, (i) what did you think of the Batman movie? It was awesome, you really should see it if you get the chance. Heath Ledger was good, I think Oscar for sure, not just out of sympathy.

          Anyway, I will see you later, bye bye \.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        [translation]Fuck you Chinese government! I really would like to say more than just these few words but the high charges aren't affordable. If only I could be able to write that I disapprove entirely of these high charges I wouldn't have to be abbreviated and could say if I have been abused or tortured or not. If I could afford to tell if I have been tortured, trust me, I would just say it. Anyway, I will have to sign off now because I am late for a protest march in Tiananmen Square. I should be back soon,
    • by PRC Banker ( 970188 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @05:17AM (#24365671)
      Internet connections in reasonably developed cities (Beijing, Shanghai [], Chongqing, []Dalian [], run around 600 RMB for 512kbps for a year, around 1100 for 1Mbps. Not too bad.

      As for the Great Firewall, well if you want to read (in English) what the mainland Chinese netizens are doing on blogs and forums there is only one excellent resource: EastSouthWestNorth []. Check it out. It has regular citizens burning down police stations, reporting on blogs with Chinese characters upside down, using 'corrupt American administration' for certain stories as an synonym for 'corrupt Chinese administration' (especially this post []).
      • by dwater ( 72834 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @05:52AM (#24365849)

        I lived in Beijing until very recently and the lowest cost was about 99rmb per month (3month contract) for a 10Mbps connection w/o any limits. That was a static private IP.
        ADSL with a dynamic/public IP started at about the same for 512/512 and went up from there.

        Pretty cheap, I thought.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sumdumass ( 711423 )

          I think the issue with the Olympic Village is that they had to invest and implement an incredible infrastructure that will only be used during the Olympics for the most part. That requires running quite a bit of fiber and fixing/installing good copper lines and so on.

          I suspect that they want to cover the cost of all of it and don't expect to be able to throttle people like regular networks do when they share speeds and connections. Personally, it will mostly be used for monetary gain, it is a temporary even

    • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @05:28AM (#24365737) Journal

      Dunno, it seems to me more like good old, capitalistic smelling when you can fleece someone. Just like, say, buying stuff on an airport might be more expensive than at the mall down the road.

      Basically, those journalists don't have many other choices, since their readers and viewers expect coverage of those events. So as long as you price it just high enough so it's not worth it to find some other way, they'll pay.

      Plus, it might come as a shock to some people, but some resources do cost more in other countries. I'll take a guess that China's broadband infrastructure is _probably_ in an even worse state than the USA's. So to give a few thousands of journalists 512 MB/s full time, no throttling, they have to throttle the already poor connections of a few million other people. It will cost you.

      • Chinese Capitalism (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:58AM (#24369059) Homepage Journal

        >>Dunno, it seems to me more like good old, capitalistic smelling when you can fleece someone. Just like, say, buying stuff on an airport might be more expensive than at the mall down the road.

        From my experience in China, the Chinese are much more "capitalistic" than Americans. Sure, it's a nominally communist dictatorship, but at the individual level, they're very making-money-oriented. From kids hustling DVDs on the streets of Shanghai to nearly every vendor being willing to haggle with you, it felt more like a free market than any market I've been in in America.

        But yeah, when they see foreigners, they see an opportunity to charge an order of magnitude more for something than they'd charge a fellow Chinese. When entering a subway in Shanghai, I heard something interesting, so I walked over to a vendor. He looked at me, said, "Rolex watch? 100 RMB." I looked at him and said in Chinese, "Oh really? You just sold one to that guy for 15." He laughed, and charged me the Chinese price.

        Personally, I'm sort of confused why journalists are being required to live in a special village anyway - it's not like they are going to be interacting with anyone outside of their own bubble chamber there, and if they stay elsewhere they can get accommodations and internet access for much less, and probably just as nice.

  • The great firewall (Score:5, Informative)

    by MortenLJ ( 686173 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:05AM (#24364985)

    I just can't believe that not only do I have to deal with the Great Firewall of China, but also pay through the nose to use it!

    As far as I remember, it is a specific requirement from IOC that the journalists have full access to the entire internet, so probably the connections go past the firewall. That said, it is still ridiculously expensive ;-)

    • by ilovegeorgebush ( 923173 ) * on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:00AM (#24365299) Homepage

      As far as I remember, it is a specific requirement from IOC

      Inversion Of Control? Huh? What's that got to do with it?

      Oh wait, I need to get out more.

    • by Dan541 ( 1032000 )

      I doubt they will lower the firewall for the people.

      Perhaps they added uncensored lines to the backbone just for the Media.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fbjon ( 692006 )
      Maybe it's so no locals would get the idea of getting one of these connections.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Which I find mildly amusing personally. I was in China last summer for a month. I was all over the place. Hong Kong, Shenzen, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guanzou. You know how many times I actually had a problem with the Firewall of China? Once, in some shitty cafe I snagged Wi-Fi signal from. I was trying sites on purpose that were supposedly blocked at the time. Not once did I ever have a problem. The great Firewall of China is a joke to say the least imo. Full access can be had easily.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gauauu ( 649169 )

        Hmmm...I lived in China for 2 years, and I've had trouble with it. Numerous sites that I was interested in were blocked (a gameboy advance homebrew development forum, for crying out loud!), and most open and free proxy servers were blocked as well.

  • Try Dubai.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:06AM (#24364987)

    Oh please.. I pay about $6k/mo. for my business's Internet connection (2mbps).

    I am not an Internet company. This is for our office of 17 employees.


    And yes, they do block things at will here too. They didn't in the past (at least not for the businesses in the free zones). Now they do.

    So, sorry.. no sympathy here.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dubai isn't hosting the olympics nor is your business located in the media village of one.

    • Re:Try East Africa (Score:2, Interesting)

      by batje ( 818323 )
      I pay 175 USD a month for a 64Kbps line, with a 4000 milliseconds ping to yahoo, as it is using satellite to connect to the rest of the Internet. One of the cables that they are promising to arrive next year is coming from Dubai. Really looking forward to that after the parent post :-)
    • Luxury! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:21AM (#24365389) Homepage Journal

      You kids today don't know how good you have it. Why, back in my day, I paid ONE WHEELBARROW FULL OF GOLD, every week, for a 75 baud line that I shared with my two hundred employees, their families, and their in-laws.

      Oh, and it was half duplex! Every time we were done sending and wanted to start receiving, we had to climb a ladder to the top of the building -- which was an 80 story skyscraper, mind you -- and switch the wires around. Even during a thunderstorm.

      And mister, you better believe that when we finally got an MP3 downloaded, we cherished it. We didn't just cram it in an iPod Shuffle and forget about it like these hoodla do now.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by EdIII ( 1114411 ) *

        TELL me about it!

        These little whipper snappers got no idea how good they got it! 500 gig hard drives full of porn. 20K+ pictures and whole WEEKS worth of video footage.

        Back in my day you had to tie up a phone line for 20 minutes to get a SINGLE picture to come out on the monitor. You were lucky if you could keep it together long enough to see the whole picture!

        If you wanted anything really interesting it was a 200$ phone bill to Germany. Awwww, those were the good ol' days :)

      • by Splab ( 574204 )

        Bloody hell, you owe me a new keyboard!

      • Re:Luxury! (Score:4, Funny)

        by nacturation ( 646836 ) * <> on Monday July 28, 2008 @05:14AM (#24365643) Journal

        75 baud? You had it lucky. We only dreamed of 75 baud. Why, when I was a lad we had to sacrifice a family member every day for the privilege of whistling into the phone line to send while someone else jotted down the notes he heard to receive. And every night our Dad would thrash us to sleep every time we got a NO CARRIER.

      • Re:Luxury! (Score:5, Funny)

        by greyhueofdoubt ( 1159527 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:00AM (#24368019) Homepage Journal

        Every time we were done sending and wanted to start receiving, we had to climb a ladder to the top of the building -- which was an 80 story skyscraper, mind you

        Oh yeah? Well, back in MY day we didn't HAVE 80-story skyscrapers. What WE did was climp up a ONE-story skyscraper 80 TIMES! And we didn't have half-duplex! We had one wire! One wire pigtailed to earth and in order to send a byte, you had to send 8 times using a bit shift register to move the bit that got onto the wire over one slot each time. All the other bits wound up on the floor, in your hair, everywhere! Oh did I mention that we used carrier pigeons for bits?


    • Re:Try Dubai.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pieterh ( 196118 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:44AM (#24365497) Homepage

      Same goes for most of Africa, where Internet costs upwards $10,000 a month for a 256K link by fiber (if you're in one of the eight coastal cities that get it) or by VSAT. Typically a 256K link is shared by 10 cybercafes, each with up to 50 users at once. Note also that average earnings are 20-40 times lower than in the USA or Europe, making the Internet about 40,000 times more costly.

      This is not because of any technical difficulties, it's because of cartel pricing that keeps competition out.

  • by Korbeau ( 913903 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:07AM (#24364995)

    how comes your company doesn't pay for it?

  • Capitalist China? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jsfs ( 1329511 )
    Perhaps China has decided to become capitalist after all. Since the reporters need the Internet, why not charge them (and thereby their evil capitalist pig networks) ridiculous amounts of money for it? Perhaps they hope to recoup the cost of the Olympic Village?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They already are capitalist. Probably one of the most capitalist countries in existance now, since they didn't move forward into socialism and now are stuck in this very bad quasi-communist thing.

    • by jlarocco ( 851450 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:20AM (#24365383) Homepage

      News flash: China has spent the last 15-20 years transitioning to capitalism.

      Depending on how you want to look at it, they're almost as free (some would say more free) in that respect than we are in the US.

      • Re:Capitalist China? (Score:4, Informative)

        by will_die ( 586523 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @07:53AM (#24366607) Homepage
        They have been moving somewhat but they are going to get lots of bad press during the next couple of weeks.
        Here are some examples
        Lots of live concerts, inside bars, non-government concert halls, etc have been told they could not perform, via a police crackdown. Also since any live concert of any type needs a permit the office giving those permits has not been giving them out to non-government organized events for the past months, for the time during and leading to the olympics.
        large parts of the city have been placed off limits to anyone who does not have business in that area, and if are a tourist you have no business.
        Restaurants are being told what they can serve during the Olymipic time period.
        Doctors are being told that they cannot perform elective medical surgery, this is more because the government wants to make sure enough trained medical personal are available.
        Everyone is required to carry ID and police are allow to stop and perform full searches and verifiication of residence and belongings at any time.
        Even more lockdown on travel for Chinesse, it is easier for a forgiener to travel around the country then it is for a citizen.
        • Re:Capitalist China? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Free the Cowards ( 1280296 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @11:43AM (#24369911)

          Even more lockdown on travel for Chinesse, it is easier for a forgiener to travel around the country then it is for a citizen.

          I just want to address this last point. It's always easier for a foreigner to do just about anything than it is for a citizen. China is backwards from many countries, particularly from the US, in this respect. Most places, natives have it easy and foreigners are viewed with suspicion, given more difficulty by the government, etc. In China it's the other way around. If you're a foreigner then everything is much easier. Police and government officials are much nicer, the places you're likely to visit are usually cleaner, people in general tend to be more polite. A major exception is prices; things tend to spontaneously become more expensive the moment somebody notices that you're not Chinese.

  • Share the BW (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alanmeyer ( 174278 )

    Seems like reporters could share their line with others and share the cost along with it. 1 simple wireless router should do the trick.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Renraku ( 518261 )

      The Chinese government is very protective of the profitability of their companies. If you were to circumvent this, I'd almost expect to disappear in the middle of the night and be subjected to some harsh questioning. The stakes are a little higher when they lose thousands and thousands of what they consider to be their money when you share your neighbor's DSL. As opposed to the US, where you'd be depriving a company of $40-60 for decent DSL service.

      Not worth the risk in my opinion.

      Another scenario, what

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ClamIAm ( 926466 )

        Yeah, I fully agree that that the PRC will, during what's seen as their gigantic, international debut as a modern nation, arrest and detain foreign reporters for sharing DSL. This is a most logical thing to do, and would definitely not result in any kind of enormous scandal.

        Seriously, did you think about any of the shit you wrote here? After a few DSL thieves are jailed, what happens when the rest of the media send urgent reports all around the world saying "oh shit looks like China is still a horrible au

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:10AM (#24365013)
    It's like any other event of this nature, everyone gets put in the vice for money. For example, apartment rentals near the Democratic Convention in Denver are topping out at (yes!) $30,000. But I'll bet it will keep the "illegal" bloggers down...
    • We see this living in Vancouver - with the winter Olympics coming here in a couple years. This home, at $14,000 to rent for the month of the games is located in Langley BC. That's about 30 miles from downtown Vancouver in the opposite direction of Whistler (where skiing, etc, will be). It's a 3 bedroom furnished suburban basic home. [] Currently, for about 40% of that you can rent a 3,000 ft executive home on the side of a mountain with incredible ocean views. http:/ []
  • by GWBasic ( 900357 ) <slashdot@andrewr ... com minus author> on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:11AM (#24365021) Homepage

    I remember getting insulted at a hotel because they wanted to charge me $10 a day for internet access. I certainly sympathize...

    ...However, one must also understand the economics of the situation. For our cable modems and DSL lines, the long-term subscriptions allow the initial investment to be recaptured over time. Does the same apply at the Chinese Olympics?

    • Well I doubt they're going to just tear the place down as soon as the Olympics are done.
      But I don't really see the problem. Every here is always crying about how capitalism is even better than sliced bread, and here it is at work.

    • by iwein ( 561027 )
      I think the initial investment is less than one month of internet at those prices. You could get your own satalite for that amount.
      • by GauteL ( 29207 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @06:26AM (#24366015)

        "I think the initial investment is less than one month of internet at those prices."

        Exactly the GPs point. The initial investment has to be less than a month of Internet, because it will take an enormous amount of time to recoup the investment once the olympics are over. There is simply no way that the enormous infrastructure needed for the olympics are going to be anywhere near affordable for local residents any time soon.

        Thus, the prices are jacked up to fully cover the initial investment plus a healthy profit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by duffbeer703 ( 177751 )
      The Olympics are basically feeding time at the zoo for the well-connected. Most concessions are monopolies controlled by a few select vendors, and local officials get bribes and no-show jobs for relatives to keep things running smoothly. DSL ripoffs are just the tip of the iceberg. Millions are being stolen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:11AM (#24365023)

    deep packet inspection and analysis for all your communication is expensive.

  • by romanm ( 178782 )

    So find another provider. Oh, there are none, are they? If people are willing to pay that kind of money, the provider will charge them. The real question is: as an IT contractor, can you afford NOT to be online during Olympics? This is an excellent example of a monopoly.

  • In communist China (Score:4, Insightful)

    by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:13AM (#24365035)
    Communists overcharge CAPITALISTS...

    You're a rich American, remember? I think they're putting the screws to you and pulling your leg; a coworker of mine just got back from China about 3 weeks ago and he said his hotel in Beijing had free wireless. Sneak into a hotel and give that a shot. What's the worst that could happen ;-)
    • by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:24AM (#24365109) Homepage Journal
      in addition to this, some of the hotels have VPNs to Hong Kong so get around the firewall and are therefore a bit faster and mostly uncensored. Win/Win!
    • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:24AM (#24365405)

      I can do you ONE BETTER.

      While I was in China for 3 weeks I visited over 20 cities (I think, it was mostly a blur) and had CELLULAR INTERNET the entire time provided by a local friend. I had a HELL of a time getting the right drivers to work on my laptop, especially since I could not read Chinese websites and instruction manuals, but I got it done.

      It was fast and I never found a city without service. Ummm, actually... I had better service than I do with Verizon here in the US, and Verizon is pretty GOOD.

      So I am just dumbstruck that these people have not found a way around these providers that are clearly "butt raping the tourists". I can see them getting together in a private room at a restaurant getting drunk of the local alcohol (which can be REAL strong) and laughing hysterically.

      I would suggest he strike up a friendship with a local and get a card through them. I think I remember that it was around 100-150$ USD per month, which is pretty competitive and even close to prices here in the US.

      The strangest part is that the card is provided through the "postal service". They get it at their version of the post office. Maybe it was a translation error, but it was a strange deal. In any case I did not have to rely on the wireless in the hotels :)

      If I remember correctly these cards should be compatible with certain 3G routers too. In any case, since the guy is supposed to be an IT guy I am sure he could find a way to share and even bond a couple of the cards together.

  • by thona ( 556334 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:15AM (#24365051) Homepage
    SOmeone hoas to pay for all the installation work - as a contractor the OP should not be so ignorant. You put tons of infrastructure in that you then rip out again. Yes, the price is high. But then - seriously - there is a lot of work in tehere, that just is not needed at all anymore once the games are over. So, people using things during one month of the games have to pay all the costs... ...that peopele with a leased line at hime depreciate over months. And yes, the equipment can partially be reused. Partially - and the work is lost.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      "hoas to", "tehere", "peopele", "hime"

      Let me guess, you are typing this on a cell phone?
    • by Knuckles ( 8964 ) <knuckles@d a n t i> on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:37AM (#24365187)

      Usually, the Olympic villages are used as residential areas (often for university students and the like) after the games. The Chinese aren't stupid, so I would expect them to do the same, and I figure they want to use the Olympics to pay for all the infrastructure. Can't blame them, it's one of the points of having the Olympics in your country, after all.

    • These campuses are reused. They are not demolished afterwards. There is plenty of time for the parent company to get their ROI.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by fishbowl ( 7759 )

        >There is plenty of time for the parent company to get their ROI.

        But people are paying, no doubt competing for, the prices in the OP's message.
        So why should they wait? Price the services at the level that the market bears.

      • The only guaranteed period is the games - theres no guarantee the campus will be reused, even if that is the plan.
  • some unkind words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:16AM (#24365053)

    you went to the Olympics as a contractor to make money. now you find out tool you need for the job actually costs money instead of being free, a lot of money. well, so you assumed and fucked up. Are we learning yet?

  • by Rufus211 ( 221883 ) <[gro.hsikcah] [ta] [todhsals-sufur]> on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:30AM (#24365145) Homepage

    Every single person in the media village is attached to one of the media organizations covering the Olympics. That means every penny they spend will be 100% reimbursed by the corporation that has them out there. The company's already spending millions to send the manpower and equipment over there, what's an extra $1k here or there? And of course it's only for 1 month, that's how long the Olympics are.

    This is the same as all business hotels. Your run of the mill Best Western, Days Inn, etc family chains all have free Wifi internet. Minute you go to any "business class" hotel or go within a block of a convention center, you start getting charged $10/day to $10/hr. It's all reimbursed through their company so the person staying doesn't care, and a company's not going to reasonably tell employees not to pay $10 to access their e-mail and work an extra hour from the hotel when they're paying $200/night anyway.

  • by keneng ( 1211114 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @03:52AM (#24365257) Journal

    In Beijing across the street from the train station, you'll find the International Youth Hostel. On the third floor there's the backpackers' club where they have six machines hooked up to the internet.

    They charge 3RMB an hour. If you book it for the entire month, I'm sure it would cost much less than 7712.5RMB :)

    For your information, a hostel room with two beds costs 180RMB and you share the shower/sinks/bathrooms. I stayed there for a couple of days. It was worth every penny and it was impeccably clean. I highly recommend it.

  • by LS ( 57954 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:03AM (#24365307) Homepage

    Internet cafes are still only 1 dollar an hour, and our office here in Beijing's connection with 2MBps up/down and 4 static IPs is about $130/month.


  • .... I always thought that in Communist China, internet paid for YOU!

  • I mean really. what did you expect? Some communist utopia where everything is "free"? It doesn't exist. Never has and never will.

    You are at what will be the nexus of one of the most lucrative industries in the world for the next few weeks (sports, especially summer ones) and you expect the main access to the outer world to be what, cheap?

    You can also expect it to be craptacular in that there is no other game in town and you *have* to purchase it at outrageous prices. Not that capitalism would have helped ei

  • This is the Olympics, the Olympics are about making money. $1200 for basic high speed internet access at the Olympics sounds about right. It's not reasonable or fair, but $1200 for a month of internet access at once in while/lifetime event sounds pretty affordable.

    Suck it up, be a patriotic American, put it on your credit card! If it's that bad then split it with somebody else, or rebel by giving your internet away free...

    Only if whining was an Olympic event....

  • Convention Pricing (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That's not outrageous, the company I work for paid roughly the same prices for a 3 day convention at the Opryland/Gaylord Hotel in Nashville TN.

  • by howlingmadhowie ( 943150 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:41AM (#24365481)
    will we ever change our view of basic amenities to include internet? i can't imagine anybody charging 1200$ per month for access to water, but maybe i'm naive here.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:44AM (#24365495)

    I work in Beijing and the internet costs there are pretty reasonable, closer to the general costs in Southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, etc.) than anything else. You can step into most Starbucks and use the free wireless in there. Even the hotels like Hotel 81 have free internet (LAN wire provided).

    As a foreign Chinese, I mix alot with the locals and some of them treat me as one of themselves though others not so much. They have a big in-joke amongst all of them about ripping off foreigners especially whites. Of course, they also complain all day about whites taking away their girls. Not my opinion, theirs.

    You'll be able to find reasonably priced stuff all over Beijing outside of the expats' area (Chaoyang) and the Olympic areas.

  • Apart from above-mentioned free/cheap broadband access in all medium to large hotels, China Mobile also offer free wifi access for major Olympic districts for the celebration of Beijing 2008.

    Had you needed to use Internet in Media Village you can always subscribe to use China Mobile and Unicom's mobile internet access. Slow but very reliable for narrow-band transmission.

    This high Internet access charge is in fact a penalty charge for those who still thinks China is an undeveloped country where Internet
  • Censor salaries (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Craig Ringer ( 302899 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @04:54AM (#24365553) Homepage Journal

    Well, that's covering the salaries of the team of people who'll be assigned to monitor and hand-filter the connection, including your email, web browsing, and IP phone calls ;-)

    More likely it's an attempt to extract money from rich media companies - who'll just knock it off their taxable income anyway - but the censor army isn't as far fetched as I'd like to think.

    It's a little scary that satellite or UMTS/HSDPA 'net access might actually be cheaper than local ADSL circuits, though.

  • There are plenty of ways to get around this unless you critically need the full bandwidth at all times - share with your neighbor over WiFi, buy a cell-phone-based data card, stick a satellite dish out your window, etc., etc...

    This is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money media are spending to cover the Olympics. When NBC spent $1.5 billion for their Olympic broadcast rights, and a $2k Internet connection reduces the chance that something will go wrong, how could they refuse it? They hav
  • I say find a few goldfarmers, buy lots and lots of WoW gold and then resell it to pay for your internet connection.

    To find them, look for people with names like "dksfjskldg" or "agcfbgjr".
    They will be either quite tall with pointy ears, or really short with a silly voice. Make sure to bring lots of ice, and if they start shooting at you or if they run towards you really quickly with a big sword, make sure to cover yourself with the ice you brought.
    But watch out... due to the heat the ice will melt in
  • that can create monopolies on a whim is abusing that power? I'm shocked.

  • by dwater ( 72834 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @05:46AM (#24365821)

    Clearly you have a big nose and so can afford it.

    It's your own fault.

    Next time, get a smaller nose.

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @08:11AM (#24366737) Homepage Journal

    This is most likely a dual purpose measure being taken by the Chinese govt. Firstly, making internet access expensive does reduce the number of people using it. Less people using it means fewer people to keep tabs on. Secondly and I think more importantly, someone has to pay those people and buy that hardware to monitor your web browsing and blogging. I would expect that each subscriber to this service has several dedicated censors monitoring their line. They're probably just making the system fund itself, while at the same time providing a natural limiting factor to it. It's a very elegant solution really. If too many people try to subscribe to it, causing a problem getting enough censors and tech in place to handle the surge, they just jack up the price until it hits equilibrium again. It's a highly effective, practical, and simple solution to their need for censorship.

  • by viking80 ( 697716 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @08:37AM (#24366993) Journal

    Imagine New York when the mob was running a lot of it. Now imagine the mob winning the battles with the police, and taking over not only the whole city, but the entire USA.

    That's what China is and feels like.

    So be careful, and give them whatever they want.

  • First Olympics? (Score:5, Informative)

    by greenfield ( 226319 ) <> on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:25AM (#24367537) Homepage
    This must be your first Olympics. There is no other way to explain your naivete.

    The organizing committees for the Olympic Games always charge an excessive amount of money for everything. As a contractor, I'm sure you have absolutely no idea what your room is costing, but I'm sure it is around ten thousand dollars for a mere three weeks. And the media housing is not a four star hotel.

    Check out the rate card if you are really interested in cost inflation. A chair rental in the press center is usually between $300 and $600. And this is not for a nice adjustable chair--this is for a chair that would cost $30 to $50 retail.

    Heck, everyone gets in the act: when I visited China last year, a first class direct business fare from New York City was under $1500. For the Olympics, that same flight was well over $6000.

    You may also think the food at local restaurants is affordable, but I can assure you that the local merchants have probably doubled or tripled their prices.

    There is nothing given away for free at the Olympics. Except for pins. And you usually have to trade for them.

    Incidentally, here are a couple of other quick tips: China is not a democracy, don't drink the water ever (the locals don't), and make time to visit the Great Wall.

  • by PureCreditor ( 300490 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:36AM (#24367709)

    the Olympic village will rarely be used after the games, and there's no long term subscriber base to fully amortize the costs of wiring the village, so they simply need to charge the right amount to re-coup the costs.

    this is similar to people in the middle of the Saharan desert complaining about $10/min satellite phone service and comparing it to free VoIP

  • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Monday July 28, 2008 @12:19PM (#24370553)
    I'm too busy / lazy to google a supporting link, but by contrast the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Organizing committee has promised free (like beer) internet to all media, including 'non acredited' media.
  • by wdr1 ( 31310 ) * < minus city> on Monday July 28, 2008 @08:56PM (#24378293) Homepage Journal

    I'm also in Beijing. Actually, I'm in the airport, typing this as I wait for my flight to leave.

    One piece of advice on the great firewall, from one geek to another, is ssh tunnels. If you a unix box on the other side of the firewall, just fire up:

    ssh -D 8080

    The configure you proxy to use a SOCKS proxy on localhost:8080.

    Suddenly no more firewall. I'd say it's a bit slower, but saying the Internet is slow in China is redundant.


Forty two.