China’s Internet Fees Reduced

Following the sharp access fee reduction by two leading ISPs, China Education & Research Net (CERNET) and Golden Bridge Net, ISP giant Chinanet will adjust its fee for Internet access accordingly.

In the past, Chinese Net users have often complained about expensive access fees which also have deterred many potential users from signing up.

Most Beijing ISPs, according to a survey, believe that the fee reduction for Internet access will soon be a reality. However, none of them would go on the record saying so.

In mid-August, the Science & Technology Branch of the Ministry of Education and the National Network Administration Committee for Education & Research cut the Internet access fees for the national education & research customers in half.

In order to solve the problem of expensive Internet access fee, which is most concerned by the university faculty and students, the involved sections also reduced the correlative fee. The price of international communication flux has been reduced from the previous RMB5.0/Mbts to present RMB2.5/Mbts.

The action of reducing Internet access fee was initiated by Ministry of Information Industry, and has by far gained the strongest support from China Telecom.

This is really good news, especially to those researchers, teachers and students who visit CERNET frequently. CERNET is one of the four national networks. Since its foundation in 1994, it has developed into a network connecting more than 500 universities and research institutes and 80 cities in the country. CERNET has nearly 1.0 million users at present.

CERNET has also been required to support an education plan approved by the National Science & Education Leading Group that will implement distant education in the engineering field. The task required CERNET to upgrade its high-speed backbone network and to connect more than 1,000 universities as well as 1,000 elementary and high schools before the year 2,000. To complete the task, CERNET is in imperative need of cheap, high-speed communication lines.

Following CERNET’s action, China Jitong, who operates the Golden Bridge Net, also announced fee reduction for its 10 different Internet cards.

At present, China Jitong provides annual cards and seasonal cards for Internet users. The cards are set according to different periods of time and different preferential prices. Customers can choose the cards with the most preferential time to surf the Internet so as to economize their time and money.

However, when asked about the price reduction, Zuo Feng, the deputy director of China Telecom’s Data Communication Bureau, said that he had no knowledge of any access fee reduction. He stated that he didn’t know because the price is not determined by China Telecom. He added that there was no policy directive regarding reduction Internet fees on his desk.

Nevertheless, the potential competition from emerging alternative broadband services puts pressure on the telecom authorities to reduce dial-up access fees.

For example, the Broadcasting and Television network has been under construction nationwide. The Guangdong cable casting and cable TV backbone network, whose total network scale is largest in the nation, has been completed and opened. This network is 4,000 kilometers long and consists of 6 circuits. Upon accomplishment, the network should provide users with a much higher speed of Internet access.

Sources say that the speed is hundreds of times faster than the speed of common telephone access at a cost that is much lower than a telecom network.

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