Iceland - Infrastructure, power, and communications
Iceland enjoys an extensive infrastructure. Roads started to be built in 1900 and construction increased during the 1980s. However, there are still a number of gravel roads in Iceland. The current national road system connects most of the cities and is largely in the coastal areas. It consists of about 12,691 kilometers (7,868 miles) of roads, with 3,262 kilometers (2,022 miles) paved. There are no railroads in Iceland.
Airplanes and ships conduct travel between Reykjavík and Iceland's smaller cities. Additionally, there are daily international flights from Iceland to Europe and North America. There are 12 airports with paved run-ways and 74 with unpaved runways. Because of Iceland's dependence on fishing revenues, there are 9 ports and harbors. The Icelandic merchant marine has a total of 3 ships: a chemical tanker, a container ship, and a petroleum tanker.
Telecommunications are completely modern, and a high percentage of the population use cellular phones (6,746 in 1997). Icelanders enjoy adequate domestic telephone service, and international telephone systems are run by 3 satellite earth stations, one of which is shared with the other Scandinavian countries.
As of 1998, Iceland had 3 AM radio stations and about 70 FM stations. There were 14 television broadcast stations (plus 16 low-power repeaters) in 1997. In 2001, there were 2 national state radio channels and many private stations that broadcast around the clock. The first privately owned station went on the air in 1986 and others soon followed.
In the 1960s the state television station was on the air for only 2 nights a week. Later, television programming was broadcast on the other nights of the week but for years there was no television on Thursdays. Icelanders did not watch television programs in their own language until 1966. Since the 1990s less than half of television programming is in Icelandic and most programs are from the United States and Great Britain and are subtitled.
Computer use is widespread in Iceland and about 82 percent of Icelanders have Internet access at home, at school, or at work. This is reflected in the republic's ever-growing information-technology industry, with the export of software rapidly increasing.