China’s two major internet service providers have been embroiled in monopoly allegations for the past month or so, and it looks like their pain will eventually be our bandwidth’s gain. On Friday, China Telecom and China Unicom asked the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to halt their investigation into alleged monopolistic behavior. In exchange, they pledged to improve internet speed and China Telecom went as far as saying it would lower broadband costs by up to 35%.
The National Development and Reform Commission in November alleged the two firms had hindered other companies from entering the broadband market by working together to increase access costs and slow down Internet speeds.
The NDRC, which said the two companies were using market dominance to set prices, on Friday said it had received the companies’ requests to end its probe and would handle them according to the law, the Xinhua news agency said.
The two telecom companies are estimated to command two-thirds of overall Internet access in China, where 500 million people surf the web, more than 360 million using broadband.
This is the first anti-monopoly case involving large state-owned enterprises since China first established an anti-monopoly law in 2008. The law stipulates that if a company promises to take concrete action to mend its ways, authorities can choose to end their investigation.
There’s no question this is great for Shanghai’s pathetically slow internet. While it probably wont lead to the blossoming of a hundred new internet service providers, we can at least look forward to prices more in line with the terrible service.