Yup, that’s Shanghaiist on the computer.
Ever wondered why your internet is so sloooooooow? Now you can stop fiddling around with your modem and your wireless router — there’s nothing wrong with them! According to the latest report by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released on Wednesday, Shanghai is the absolute WORST place in China to be for an internet user. Average internet speeds here are a pathetic 73.2 kb/s, and that means it’s worse here than in neighbouring Jiangsu (74.4 kb/s) and even Tibet (76.6 kb/s).
Beijing, ranking 13th in the whole country, chalked up average internet speeds of 105.7 kb/s. The top place in China to be for an internet user? Henan province, with average speed of 131.2 kb/s, but even that is nowhere near blazingly fast. Taken as a whole, China‘s average internet speed of 100.9 kb/s less than half of the global average of 212.5 kb/s.
In an op-ed on Beijing Morning Post 《北京晨报》entitled Who Stole Our Internet Speed? (“谁拿走了我们的网速？”), writer Cai Hui (蔡辉) points out:
1. Firstly, our internet service provider market is a tight oligopoly. Only a few enterprises have been allowed into the sector. This is why there is so little impetus on their part to improve internet speeds. This requires investments which means greater costs, and the income may not rise correspondingly. Given these conditions, who would do such a crazy thing? On the surface, the few companies in the business are competing with each other, but since no new entrants to the market are allowed, then rather than fighting a bloody battle, why not sign an under-the-table agreement to not improve speeds. Even if there are demands from superiors to raise speeds, they can all chime together: the technology is too difficult, there are problems within the company, we don’t need to follow in the footsteps of other countries, etc.
2. Netizens may be dissatisfied with slow internet speeds but it’s all too easy to block or ignore their voices. You’re not happy? I don’t care. Still not happy? I’ll block you from commenting. Still not happy again? I’ll plug off your website. Prior to this, there have been no relevant statistics to back us up. We would only be able to say subjectively that internet speeds seem to be faster overseas than here in China, but whenever someone says anything like this, we would be shut down by certain academics saying we’re “unscientific”, “irrational”, and so on. If not for this report, Chinese netizens would still probably be thinking we have the fastest internet speeds in the world, happy that we actually have such a thing called ADSL.
3. There are also leaks in industry evaluations. For the longest time, they’ve been focussing on just quantity, not quality. It’s as if we’ve moved right into the internet age if we’re able to just send emails — why do you need such fast internet speeds for? The lower the speeds, the fewer the applications, the easier the management will be. WIth such a management mentality, when will the issue of slow internet speeds ever be addressed? [Translation by Shanghaiist]
Cai Hui ends his piece by pointing out that the internet has greatly empowered the Chinese entrepreneurial spirit. Many internet applications and services developed here are among the best in the world, as recent developments in the Chinese internet industry over the last few years have shown. Why then, he asks, are fundamental questions like internet speed not addressed? And, who, he asks, is stealing our internet speed?
Read more internet-related news here.