The World Bank recently released a report called "China's Information
Revolution: Managing the Economic and Social Transformation". It reveals that
Internet service fees in developed countries only account for less than one
percent of people's incomes, while Chinese users need to pay over 10 percent of
their incomes. This is much higher than the world's average level.
This report made Chinese experts and web surfers appeal for a lower Internet
fee. In order to find out whether Chinese net services cost much more than other
countries, People's Daily interviewed 10 people in 10 countries.
China: 83.5 yuan (US$10.85) per person per
According to China Internet Association, there are 137
million netizens in the mainland, who pay 83.5 yuan a month on average to get
online. But the prices vary in different areas. For example, people in Ningbo in
eastern China's Zhejiang province pay 88 yuan/month, while their counterparts in
Beijing need to pay 188 yuan for the same service.
The reporter interviewed 10 Beijing residents and half of them complained
about the high costs of the Internet service. Zhao Qing, a fresh graduate spends
120 yuan a month for Internet access, which accounts for six percent of her
monthly salary. "Besides this 120 yuan, I have to pay for life necessities and
rent. It is nearly impossible to do other things with the little money left. I
really need a cheaper Internet service," explained Zhao.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics in 2006 show the per capita
disposable income of urban residents was 11,759 yuan per year, while those of
rural households was 3,587 yuan. And the monthly income of Beijingers was about
USA: US$40 per month
Because of severe competition,
American telecom companies often provide discounts to users. For example,
Tennessee resident Mandy originally had to pay US$40 for her family's monthly
Internet service, but since she also buys cable TV service from the same
company, she only needs to pay US$25 for Internet access every month, which to
her, is a good bargain.
"I can buy a pair of Nike sneakers at US$25, or have a nice buffet with my
husband. My family earns US$10,000 monthly so we can accept the cost. But US$ 40
per month to get onto the Internet is too expensive," said Mandy.
Japan: 3,370 yen (US$27.78) per month
the Japanese government, the country started providing the world's cheapest
Internet services in 2002. Four years later, web surfers only need to pay 3,370
yen for a router and monthly Internet service. An office clerk in Tokyo told
People's Daily the fee accounts for merely one percent of his monthly salary. He
describes it this way: "If a Chinese earns 3,000 yuan a month, he just needs to
spend 30 yuan on the Internet. Isn't it so cheap?" he asked.
Germany: Euro 31(US$41.82) per month
A man works in a
tourist agency in Berlin is enjoying the wireless Internet service at Euro 31 per
month. He explained, "I can buy eight packs of cigarettes in a gas station or
have a nice dinner in a restaurant at that price. My monthly net income is Euro
1,309, so the cost of Internet access is quite acceptable."
pounds (US$49.36) per month
The British can enjoy
high-speed Internet at 25 pounds a month, which is not a big deal for a middle-class family
with a 40,000-50,000 pounds annual income.
Also, telecom companies compete with each other by offering discounts.
Londoner Hanson is the owner of a small supermarket and he uses an Internet
service provided by a big UK telecom company, which also offers cell phone
services. "I spend 30 pounds a month on its mobile service so I only need to
pay another 5 pounds per month for the Internet. If one pays more for the mobile service,
he or she can enjoy a free Internet service. "
Belgium: Euro 30 (US$40.48) per month
In Belgium, the average
cost for Internet access is Euro 40 a month, accounting for three percent of a
low-income earner's monthly salary after tax. But the Internet cost can vary
depending on what people are doing online.
"Different services cost differently. For example, I only spend Euro 30 a month on the
Internet to check information. But for people who often download movies, the monthly
cost is Euro 80," a government officer in Brussels explained to People's
South Korea: 30,000 won (US$32.49) per month
monthly cost of Internet access is 1.5 percent of a middle-income person's
salary. "People can only buy 30 radishes at 30,000 won in Seoul," an engineer
said. "This is due to competition between the various telecom companies."
France: Euro 40 (US$53.97) per month
The Euro 40
Internet cost per month
only accounts for three percent of the Euro 1,400 minimum monthly salary in France.
With Euro 40, a person in Paris can eat two burgers at a fast food
restaurant; buy 20 kg tomatoes or two bottles of champagne.
"If you don't mind the poor service, you can get cheaper Internet access at Euro
30 a month," said a Parisian.
Australia: $A60 (US$49.36) per month
Most Australians earn $A4,000 monthly
and they choose to spend 1.5 percent of their income, which is $A60 every month
on Internet service. A housewife in Canberra told the reporter, "I can buy 12 kg
meat or 24 bottles of 2L orange juice with the same amount of money."
India: 600 rupees (US$14.7) per
A national survey reveals the
average cost of the Internet service is 600 rupees, which is 20 percent of the
average monthly income in India.
A vice professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University said 600 rupees is his
monthly food budget, so he can't afford to get Internet access at home. For many
Indian families, it's a luxury to surf the Internet at home.
To solve the problem, the Indian government promised to offer free broadband
service to the public in two years. Although many Indians doubt this will really
happen, the government says it's determined to carry this plan