Though the telecommunications system has had recent improvements in the form of foreign investment through business ventures, There are still thousands of residents on waiting lists for service lines, with the average wait for service at about 1.4 years in 2000. As of 2000, there were 501,691 main line telephones in the country and 711,000 mobile cellular phones.
Estonian Radio began regular broadcasting in 1926. In 1937, the highest radio tower in Europe (196.7m) was built in Türi. In the 1970s, Estonian Radio was the first in the former Soviet Union to carry advertising. Estonian television began broadcasting in 1955, and started color broadcasts in 1972. It broadcasts on four channels in Estonian and Russian. As of 2001, there were 98 FM radio stations and 3 television stations. About 90 out of every 1,000 people subscribed to cable television. In 1997, there were 1,096 radios and 591 television sets per 1,000 people. In 2000, there were about 153 personal computers per 1,000 people. In 2001, 38 Internet service providers served about 540,000 users.
Journalism was subject to varying degrees of censorship from the Russian occupation in 1940 until the late 1980s. The most popular daily newspapers (with 2002 circulation figures) are Noorte Haal ( The Voice of Youth , 150,000), Postimees ( Postman , 59,200,) Paevaleht ( The Daily Paper , 40,000), and Rahva Haal ( The Voice of the People, 175,000). The most widely read weeklies (with 1995 circulation figures) are the Maaleht (Country News, 50,000) and the Eesti Ekspress (Estonian Express, 55,000).
Estonia has an active publishing industry, although it faced economic difficulties in the early 1990s. The ISBN code has been used in Estonia since 1988. There were 2,291,000 book titles published in 1994.
The government is said to respect constitutional provisions for free expression. Foreign publications are widely available and private print and broadcast media operate freely.