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Beijing's free Wi-Fi extended to some bus routes

Bus commuters will benefit from extra coverage on routes around Chang'an Avenue under a pilot project between China Mobile and Beijing Public Transport.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Free Wi-Fi on buses in Beijing, China, were extended on Monday to cover several bus routes, but users have complained about its speed and reliability.

According to China Daily on Tuesday, buses running around Chang'an Avenue, such as bus numbers 99 and 52 in the capital, recently added free Wi-Fi.

Beijing buses running around Chang'an Avenue, such as bus numbers 99 and 52 recently added free Wi-Fi services for passengers.

The free Wi-Fi coverage is part of a pilot project conducted by Beijing Public Transport and China Mobile's Beijing subsidiary, with the operator to provide wireless network capabilities on public buses in the Chinese capital.

Subscribers of the cell phone network will get 20 hours of free Wi-Fi a month, and a 3 yuan (US$0.50) hourly fee will be charged once the subscriber exceeds the 20 hours of free services. Commuters obtain a username and password through text messages after inputting their phone numbers to gain access, the report noted.

The pilot project will continue through to the end of June, and whether China Mobile plans to extend the project is unclear. China Mobile could not be reached for comments when approached by the news site.

Despite the free service, commuters have complained about the speed and reliability of the network. For instance, Bai Long, a Beijing-based accountant, tested the Internet speed on Monday with his phone and said it was only 80 kb per second. "With Internet speed this poor, you can only browse some web pages, and viewing a video clip is out of the question," he said in the report.

The Chinese capital has free Wi-Fi services in several areas, including Xidan, Wangfujing, and the Olympic center, as well as three major train stations--Financial Street, Yansha, and Zhongguancun.

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