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Hi all,

I will be moving to Beijing for about six months from June this year and was wondering how difficult it is to get internet access set up in a rented apartment. The last time I lived in China (Shanghai, about six years ago) I used to go to internet cafes where I could use my laptop on their connection, but this time I will be doing research and it would be more convenient if I can organise access at home. I am a student so plan on living in fairly standard accommodation, not a swanky place with satellite TV etc. My Chinese is fine (although a bit rusty) so communication is not a big problem. Can anyone suggest how to go about doing this?

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I don't think it's hard at all. But it's probably easiest of all if you have a telephone line installed. Then you just add DSL. It was arranged for me by my landlord at the previous 2 apartments. It may already be available when you arrive.

Then you just pay your phone bill and DSL at the same time at a local bank, like Minsheng bank.

You may need a local chinese person to help you navigate the red tape the first time you set it up, but after a while you can do it on your own.

My bill is usually 100 to 200 RMB per month for phone and DSL. It might be less soon because my girlfriend moved out and she used the phone more than me. I use my cellphone more for calls.

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I'd guess the majority of rental apartments in Beijing already have ADSL set up. It may have been suspended while the apartment was empty, but just make sure the landlord knows you want it and it will be no hassle to get up and running.

Quick note for anyone like MartinF still paying phone bills at the bank - if you get 网通充值卡s you can do it over the phone, just follow the instructions on the back. Saves the hassle of going to the bank if you don't have online banking. Though if you need to claim back the cost you might need the banks stamped slip.

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I'm in an apartment built in about 1980, and I suspect everyone here has phone/internet/tv/etc with no problems. Here's how mine works:

I went (with a chinese friend) to a CNC internet company a few blocks away. They wanted my passport, address, phone number & name/number of my chinese friend in case of a problem, and I had to choose what service I wanted. I chose the one where I get ADSL & the phone for 120rmb per month (more depending on your phone usage, but I rarely use it). There are other options. A guy will probably have to come to your house, and it may take a few days before he comes. They'll call you to say/ask when he can come.

After he does his stuff and it all works and he leaves (one time he left and made it work later from afar, and called to say "it's working now, right?"), I go buy a recharge card from that same office every month and take it home and call it in over the phone to credit the account. If not, my internet will cut off around midnight the last day of the month. As I said, you can get other options.

My chinese friend told me I could buy the recharge cards from the McDonald's, but I think maybe she was imaging things.

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Actually there are (or at least were) terminals in some macdonalds where you could buy recharge cards for fixed-line and mobile phones, pay various bills, etc, with your bank card.

In this case, however, it's even simpler and there's no need to go to any particular office - just go to the nearest newspaper kiosk or 小卖部 and ask if they have 网通充值卡.

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Actually I prefer the McDonald's variant (especially cause the next McDonald's is closer than the next newspaper stand!). Go there, plug in your bank card, pay phone bill, plug in your electricity card, get electricity, grab a burger, and make three check marks on that days's to do list. Doesn't get any simpler!

As for home internet, try not to get 铁通。 I'm using them here, and virtually no page works on first try - only after waiting for about 10 minutes...

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