One of the great joys of moving in Beijing is finding out who the Internet provider is for the new building complex. For two adults who often work from home and a child who frequently visits educational sites online, Internet access is critical to our daily routine. Or at least it was.
With our most recent move we decided to get in front of the transitional delays and contacted the service provider well in advance to make sure there would not be any gap to our service between our old residence and our new one. It seemed the transition would go smoothly, especially since the only option was with China Unicom; our previous two residences were serviced by China Unicom and we already knew an area service representative quite well. So we called him up, signed the usual paperwork, and gave him the cash. Sure enough, the day after we moved in a technician arrived to connect our service. But there was a hitch – a big one.
When the technician tried to get the connection started, the China Unicom office told him that our apartment already had an active phone line and Internet service from the previous tenant. What does that mean for us? No Internet access since we don’t have the router or password. It seems until the previous tenant cancels the service or it expires, we cannot initiate ours, even though we hold the current lease and have the blessings of the landlord. Considering that the landlord forced the previous tenant out, we might be out of Internet luck for quite some time as I am sure they did not part on good terms. Ah, the joys of corporate bureaucracy. I wonder what the odds are of a Starbucks opening in our building lobby?