Dominican Republic - Infrastructure, power, and communications

Until the 1960s the Dominican Republic had a backward and crumbling infrastructure, ruined by decades of neglect and under-investment on the part of the Trujillo dictatorship. Since the advent of tourism as a major economic sector, however, Dominican governments, especially those from 1986 onwards, have invested heavily in roads, airports, and docks and other forms of tourism-based construction. These improvements do not, however, benefit the country as a whole. Many of the more remote rural areas still have often impassable roads, made worse by natural disasters such as frequent tropical storms. Small farmers often struggle to bring their produce to market or to other buyers, while coastal resorts enjoy modern highways.

Of the 12,600 kilometers (7,830 miles) of roads existing in 2000, about half were paved, while the others were of variable quality, depending on remoteness and weather conditions. Well-maintained roads connect Santo Domingo with the north coast via Santiago de los Caballeros and run from the capital to the Haitian border and eastward to the modern tourist resorts. Elsewhere, rutted tracks and potholes are commonplace. There are occasional stretches of railway line, but these are owned by sugar plantations and are used for transporting sugar-cane rather than passengers.

The Dominican Republic has 13 airports, 5 of them classified as "international." The government's aim is to spread tourist arrivals throughout the country, thereby reducing congestion at the main airport in Santo Domingo. In keeping with its privatization agenda, the government sold control of the airport's management to various foreign consortia (business groups) in 1999. Tourists also disembark from cruise ships at modern port terminals in Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata, while other ports handle merchant shipping.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to the country's industrial development since the 1960s has been its unreliable electrical service. After years of near bankruptcy and frequent power cuts, the state-run Dominican Electricity Corporation (CDE) was dismantled, and in 1999 the first 50 percent of shares were sold to foreign investors.

Telecommunications are more efficient, although traditional main lines, operated by Codetel or Tricom, are losing ground rapidly to cellular phones. Codetel is also an Internet service provider, but there are frequent complaints about its standard of service. In early 2001, Code-tel announced that only 14 percent of Dominicans had a domestic phone connection, 7 percent used mobile phones, and 1 percent had personal access to the Internet.

User Contributions:

Chechelo Perez
The Dominican Republic has the most inefficient and expensive telecom ever!
I have a project on this, i have to write about the dominican republic`s infrastructure, and this was really clear and to the point. I wish all the other websites were this quick and easy to use! Thanks so much for your help.

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