Cambodia - Infrastructure, power, and communications
As the result of decades of conflict and civil war, Cambodia's infrastructure is extremely weak. There is a limited train system which runs to the southern seaport of Kampong Saom and to the northwest (Poipet) on the Thai border. There are plans to rehabilitate the railway to Poipet and to build a new railway linking Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam as part of the trans-Asia railway. These railways cover a total of 603 kilometers (375 miles). The country has 35,769 kilometers (22,227 miles) of highways, of which only 11.6 percent are paved. The best road is from the capital to the seaport of Kampong Saom. Past U.S. aid facilitated the renovation of that important road. Many factories are locating along that road because of its excellent access to a major Pacific seaport. Travel to many remote provinces is often done by plane. The country has 19 airports. The country also has 3,700 kilometers (2,299 miles) of navigable waterways, and it is possible to travel to the famous Angkor Wat complex by jetboat using the Tonle Sap River and the great Tonle Sap Lake.
In Cambodia's agricultural sector traditional forms of power such as waterwheels are still being used. Much of the population, especially in rural areas, does not have access to electricity. In 1999, Cambodia's electricity production was 147 million kilowatt-hours (kWh), of which 40.8 percent were derived from hydroelectric power; the rest was from fossil fuels.
Communications in urban areas has greatly improved in recent years. The number of mobile phones (which were estimated at 80,000 in 2000) are now 4 times greater than the number of conventional phone lines. Few rural areas have access to conventional phone lines. There are 10 radio and 5 television stations. In the capital of Phnom Penh, inexpensive cable television is available with a great number of diverse channels in many languages such as Thai, Japanese, Chinese, English, and French. The country had an estimated 97,000 televisions in 1997.
Cambodia has joined the Internet and has a .kh suffix. However, Internet access in Cambodia is extremely expensive relative to local income levels, which greatly restricts the use of the Internet by non-wealthy Cambodians.
With respect to print media, there has been a rapid expansion in recent years. There are currently 3 English language papers, a French language paper, 88 Khmer language newspapers, 19 Khmer language magazines, and 6 Khmer language bulletins.