Beijing - Post Report Question and Answers

Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Internet is available and the best that can be said of it is that it sort of works most of the time. We usually manage to stream video and can access most websites with the help of a VPN. Have multiple VPNs installed on your devices before arrival. - Nov 2021

Yes, but the Firewall really makes that a no. The internet for Gmail, Netflix, Hulu, etc., is awful. Come with a VPN already installed and plan to have to update it regularly and for it to not work during "sensitive" times. The internet for Bidu or other PRC approved sites is super fast and reliable. Can't wait for Starlink! :) - Nov 2020

There is no such thing as high speed internet in China. It’s subject to blocking and shutdowns due to local conditions, and God help you if you start searching for information on any topics deemed sensitive. Be sure to pre-load VPNs before you leave the United States, and be prepared to replace all of your electronic devices at the end of your tour. You have no privacy on any of your online activity, either. - Aug 2020

Internet is one of the major frustrations of living in China. Obviously you need a VPN to access many sites, and the VPN is often blocked. Internet speed can also be extremely slow. You may go days or even weeks without access to the wider world from your home computer or cell phone. - Jul 2020

Yes, but it is waaaaay inside the firewall. Goodbye facebook, youtube, twitter, sure to sign up for several VPNs... - May 2020

Yes, but one needs a few VPNs to switch between when one stops working. It takes a few days to have internet installed, cannot be done until you have arrived at Post. Have to apply in person, with your passport, they take a few dozen photos of you for the facial recognition cameras that are everywhere. - Nov 2019

Yes, usually you can get it up and running within a couple of days. - Oct 2017

Yes. But you're behind the Great Firewall, and you will grow to loathe the internet experience here. It is 1/20th the speed I'm used to in the U.S., almost all the websites I use daily are blocked, and the VPN crackdown is real. This is incredibly frustrating, second only to the air in terms of complaints. - Dec 2015

Yes. About US$30/month. - Apr 2015

Well, there's high speed internet but the speed you actually get is only about 30-40 percent of what you subscribe to. Any because of the China firewall, you can only get the normal contents if you have a VPN (virtual private network) and there are many good ones you can sign up for about US$6 a month. Without VPN, you won't be able to access any social sites, and even news sites would not be able to play videos. Heavy censorship is quite evident in China. BTW, I can be honest and write about this because, you guessed it, I have VPN turned on. TV programs get blacked out almost every day whenever there's a news report about China, as if there's someone sitting there at the control room and ready to press a button when they don't like what they see/hear within a couple seconds, then poof, the screen goes blank until that news segment is done. - Aug 2014

Yes, although between the Chinese firewall and internet speed, you should prepare for things to be very slow. It is inexpensive. I pay $30/month for "high speed" internet and my phone lines. Speeds range from slow to super, super slow and you will want to go through a VPN to get to Facebook. The VPN slows things down even more. - Jul 2014

Internet is a big frustration. You'll need a VPN to access gmail and facebook. - Jun 2013

The services available in U.S. embassy housing is supposedly "high speed," but most are limited by old or poor quality lines. We lived in two different locations, one of which had a consistent 2M and the other was usually 1M to 1.5M. You pay cash up front 6 months at a time, but you can get a slight discount (1-2 months worth) if you pay for the year. With the discount, we paid about $45-$50 a month. The biggest trick with the internet here is that, while you may have a decent connection, many sites are blocked without using a VPN to bypass the Great Firewall of China. - Aug 2011

Yes, $20 per month (USD) but it isn't fast - Apr 2011

There is a 10Mbps service shared with the entire building for $18.25 per month. I have this, but also subscribed to my own 2Mbps ADSL line for $24.25 per month (so I have two connections in the apartment). Between the two, I have enough bandwidth to do what I want. Keep in mind I'm a very heavy Internet user and work in the high tech industry, and this is barely enough. Speeds are variable depending on the time of day - in Beijing, the Internet has traffic jams just like the streets. You will need a VPN to access YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and many other sites outside China. - Jan 2011

High-speed? Ha! It's pretty slow going, and you have to use a VPN to access facebook, blogs and certain news stories. - Apr 2010

Yes. Your main problem with the internet is accessibility. Now (January 2010) no access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, IMDB, Google docs or any nings. Intermittent access to Google and google images, wikipedia etc. Censorship is by keywords in the url, so you cannot look at information on a range of topics related to Chinese modern history. - Jan 2010

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