Media & Communication
Internet in Hong Kong: Global Connection
Just looking at the numbers, Hong Kong might seem like a web aficionado’s dream: nowhere else on earth will you be able to find faster Internet connection. In the past years, Hong Kong has massively invested in its broadband and fiberglass infrastructure, and the ensuing price war has only benefitted consumers more. But even if you are away from your new home or workplace, Hong Kong leaves little, if anything, to be desired in terms of Internet connections.
GovWiFi, an initiative to turn Hong Kong into a wireless city and offer free Internet to everybody, was launched in March 2008. In total, some 2000 hotspots scattered around 400 locations in Hong Kong provide visitors and locals with public Internet access. Free WiFi is available at Hong Kong airport as well as in numerous government buildings, libraries, hotels, as well as many popular tourist destinations and public parks. While admittedly not quite up to par with similar infrastructure available in other expatriate magnets in Asia such as Singapore or Taipei, GovWiFi is still testament to the importance of widely available Internet for everybody.
You can use free WiFi Internet in lots of places in and around Hong Kong. Coffee shops often have free terminals which you can use during a coffee break while most hotels offer broadband Internet access as an alternative. By now, even buses, ferries and other means of public transport in Hong Kong offer Internet connections. You can find more detailed information on the service and potential fees in the public transport system itself.
Internet Service Providers
Many landline and cell phone companies offer Internet services or all-inclusive packages allowing you to get Internet, mobile phone, and fixed-line telephone services at once. You need a Hong Kong ID card or your passport and proof of residence to sign up. Popular ISPs include:
When you shop around for the right offer or the right kind of rate, there are different aspects concerning your own user behavior that you should pay attention to. Costs vary not only between different ISPs, but also between different Internet packages and speeds. Many providers also bundle broadband access with other offers at reduced prices. Try to find out all about your preferred Internet provider’s charging scheme before you sign up.
Luckily, the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) has seen to making this potentially rather tedious task easier and clearer for customers. As all telecommunications companies have to report their tariffs to the OFCA, the simplest way of getting an overview of available options in Hong Kong is via them. You can compare prices and services from all ISPs via this convenient database. However, keep in mind that you might miss out on special offers or promotions using this method.