Monday, December 20, 2010

FAQ - Hong Kong Internet Services

The Internet market is changing all the time. Yet, I'll do my best to keep you up-to-date guidelines.

What is the broadband Internet coverage in Hong Kong?
Very high, virtually everyone has Internet access, even through multiple networks. For example, one can have a home wired broadband subscription and a 3G Internet subscription on his mobile device or a wifi account for his netbook.

Are there free internet services in Hong Kong?
Yes, many big shopping malls have free Internet service. Eating places like McDonalds and Starbucks, some MTR stations, most government building and areas. Even public transportation like buses have free wifi access. However, in most cases, free Internet access are only for web page browsing like check your web mail account but not other web apps like chat, skype, etc.

What wired Internet ISPs are available?
For office use, many will choose PCCW (http://www.pccw.com/), HGC (http://www.hgc.com.hk/), Wharf T&T (http://www.wharftt.com/), HKBN (http://www.hkbn.net/). Usually, in business areas, you will have multiple choices. For home use, PCCW, HKBN, i-Cable (http://service.i-cable.com/) are popular. Because of competition, special offers are almost always available all the time. So, quote from various ISPs and negotiate!

What wireless Internet ISPs are available?
"Three" (http://www.three.com.hk/), PCCW 3G and PCCW wifi (http://www.pccw.com/) are some options. PCCW wifi is cheaper, but the coverage is not as wide as the 3G network.

What usually the ISP will offer?
Besides the Internet connection, usually a POP mail account with webmail support. Also, a SMTP server will be provided. Fixed IP are available for business plans, usually one fixed IP or 8 fixed IP. More WAN IP addresses can be requested. Home user plans usually do not have a fixed IP address.

What is the price range of a Internet connection subscription?
Depends on various factors like bandwidth, home or business, fixed or dynamic IP address, etc. For example, an unlimited 2M/640K dynamic IP business plan could cost about HK$100-200/month. While a 100M symmetric broadband with 1 fixed IP business plan could cost you around HK$700/month. Home plans are usually much cheaper. A 100M symmetric plan costs around HK$100/month.

Of course, these figures only serve to give you an idea and they're always changing.

I want to set up a branch office in Hong Kong, what broadband Internet subscription will you recommend?
I'll recommend a 4M/4M symmetric* broadband service with one fixed IP address business plan. It costs around HK$300-400/month, which is a very reasonable price for business use. It should be stable enough in most cases whatever ISP you use.

*symmetric means the upload and download bandwidth are the same. 4M/4M is just a minimum. Actually, many ISPs can provide a higher bandwidth line with more or less the same price.

What other suggestions will you give?
Often your ISP will offer you hosting services for your email and Internet domain. However, ISPs usually charges a much higher price, but poorer quality in hosting services. For quality hosting services, search for a hosting company.

Besides, usually business plans are with a free on-loan router. However, by doing so, you will have your Internet gateway controlled by your ISP. It is good that you provide your own router and have better control of your Internet gateway.

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