Barbados - Infrastructure, power, and communications

Barbados has a network of roads totaling 1,578 kilometers (980 miles), with only a few miles remaining un-paved. There are no railways. The main commercial port is at Bridgetown, but there is also an important marina development at Port St. Charles, north of Speightstown. There is 1 international airport, which receives many daily flights from Europe, North America, and other Caribbean countries. The road infrastructure is generally good and has received substantial government investment over recent years, as have port and airport facilities and a modernized sewerage system on the south coast.

The island's energy needs are partly met by an on-shore field in St. Philip parish, which produced 850,000 barrels of crude petroleum in 1999, equivalent to half of annual local consumption. Energy production in 1998 was estimated at 672 million kilowatt-hours (kWh), in excess of consumption of 625 million kWh. Natural gas production has also increased, and most urban and suburban residents have access to a piped gas supply. A United States-owned company, Conoco, is engaged in offshore exploration for oil and gas reserves.

Communications in Barbados are generally good and the government is committed to liberalizing the telecommunications sector, currently dominated by the Cable & Wireless company, by the end of 2002. In 1997 it was estimated that there were 97,000 telephone lines in use, and cellular and Internet access are growing steadily. The government is also attempting to boost the data-processing and telemarketing sector by promoting Barbados as a regional communications center offering a sophisticated technological infrastructure as well as a highly literate workforce.

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