Yanjing Polytechnic monopolized Internet services in the campus
In the past few years Chinese state authorities have been continuously implementing the “Speed up, fees down” policy in regards to the Internet services. However, the exact opposite behavior was noticed by the Inspection Group of the State Council of China in Yanjing Polytechnic University.
As Economic Daily reports, upon numerous claims the Inspection Group conducted secret inquires and found out that all three commercial Internet operators of the campus provided very poor connection and the students had no choice other than to switch to Polytechnic’s own network. The operators claimed that the connection problems were caused by the lack of Internet base stations, although all three of them had paid the deposits to install enough ones a long time ago and possessed all technical resources necessary, but the negotiations with Polytechnic had failed. As of October 16, the University has only installed three commercial stations.
Meanwhile, the Polytechnic offered its own Internet packages, for the price of 0,07 USD/hour, 12 USD/month, which is twice more expensive than the same service of three said providers. For the last year the University’s profit that came from telecom services amounted to over 1,2 mil USD, including as much as 150,000 USD for September only.
The State Council inspectors communicated immediately with the Yanjing Polytechnic and required to solve the issue. The persons in charge claimed to be unaware of bad connection problem and not to have interfered students’ access to the Internet intentionally, but still undertook to rectify.
On October 17, the University signed service agreements with each of three commercial operators: at the moment the entire campus, including the library, the dormitory etc, is covered by the strong signal, coming from five new stations in addition to five existing.
Moreover, the prices have also been revised: starting from October 22, am unlimited 1-month package will be available for 7,5 USD, and there will also be more affordable options provided (3, 4,5 or 6 USD). An hour of access now costs 4,5 USD cents instead of 7 cents.
The same case happened last year in several other universities. For example, the Yinchuan Institute of the China University of Mining and Technology teamed up with local telecom provider to monopolize campus market. The incident still waits its settlement by telecom and education authorities.
While different opinions exist in regard of Yanjing case, the member of Intellectual Property Rights and Competition Law Research Centre of Tongji University Mr. Liu Xu confirms that there definitely has been a violation of Anti-Monopoly Law of China, specifically the prohibition to “abuse administrative powers in order to eliminate or limit competition”. Some other specialists, including the professor of the Law School of the China People’s University Mr. Liu Junhai, believe such actions to be “the abuse of dominant position on the market”. Anyway, to quote professor Liu Junhai, “the encouragement of competition and the fight against monopolies are the important concepts of modern economy, and the case has been another warning for everyone” to respect applicable laws.