I’ve just spent some time in the Third World, and it was harrowing: potholed roads, packs of wild dogs, scowling villagers stripped to the waist as they strangle chickens on their doorsteps, and confused huddles of swivel-eyed expats who have clearly been away from civilisation for too long. OK, so maybe it wasn’t the best idea to have a mini-break in Sai Kung Country Park. But I needed somewhere to work in peace and thought it might be ideal, until I remembered the most Third World thing about it: the internet. Here, as in much of the New Territories, PCCW has the audacity to charge HK$300-plus a month for internet with “speeds” of about 6.8 megabits per second. If residents want fibre broadband, they have to club together with neighbours and shell out tens of thousands of dollars to pay for the infrastructure, which PCCW will then gleefully and indefinitely profit from. So most just put up with it. And, for the education of island folk who get superfast Wi-fi for less because of a thing called competition, here’s how it works: to send an email, click send, go and make a cup of tea, then come back to see if it’s gone yet. To send an email with an attachment, click send, then drive into town to do your weekly shop, maybe take in a film and hope for the best. Angry residents of Hong Kong’s outlying islands bemoan PCCW’s broadband speeds For bigger files, your best bet is to grab your laptop, jump on a plane and marvel at how you can enjoy internet speeds 10 or 20 times as fast on a remote island off Vietnam, in a jungle resort in Cambodia or in a backwater in the Philippines, where they have inexplicably reached a technological plateau beyond the reach of vast rural tracts of “Asia’s World City”. Even Hull – three-time winner of an annual poll for the worst place to live in Britain and a city so grim its chief claim to fame is a hotel with the smallest window in England – announced recently that it has full fibre broadband for every resident. It may be a pit of unfathomable despair with Yorkshire’s highest child obesity rates, but at least they get Netflix. The only glimmer of consolation for New Territories villagers is that if, as predicted, the government decides to cut off the internet to confound the protests, they probably wouldn’t even notice. As the sound of wailing and gnashing of teeth rings out across urban Hong Kong, the long-suffering residents of Sai Kung Country Park will just shrug, grumble about the internet being marginally more glacial than usual, then saunter blithely away to make a cup of tea and strangle another chicken.