Paraguay - Infrastructure, power, and communications

In economic terms, Paraguay has depended heavily on its rivers, especially in the 20th century. Waterways provide 3,100 kilometers (1,926 miles) of transport paths. Most international trade flows through the Paraguay and Parana Rivers, which connect Asunción to the Atlantic

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Paraguay 43 182 101 N/A 41 N/A 9.6 2.4 20
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Brazil 40 444 316 16.3 47 3.1 30.1 18.45 3,500
Uruguay 293 607 241 N/A 60 N/A 91.2 38.34 300
a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( ) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

Ocean through Brazilian territory. These 2 rivers have helped alleviate the consequences of Paraguay's land-locked location. Paraguay's Flota Mercante del Estado, a merchant marine owned and operated by the state, has transported cargo on the Paraguay and Parana Rivers since 1945.

Towards the end of the 20th century, more and more freight has been carried along roads, notably to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santos and Paranaguá in Brazil. Paraguay has a sufficient network of roads and bridges, but about half of the roads are still unpaved. 15,000 of the 29,500 kilometers of roads were paved as of 1999. Major highways connect Asunción to Ciudad del Este, Paranaguá, and Encarnación. Another highway runs from Villa Hayes across the Chaco region to the Bolivian border.

Paraguay's railway system is limited. The railway Ferrocarril Presidente Carlos Antonio López, which stretches 441 kilometers (274 miles) from Asunción to Encarnación, makes up much of the railway system in Paraguay. Railways total 971 kilometers (603 miles), which includes privately-owned railways as well. The nation's airport network, however, is much broader. With 937 airports, Paraguay's most notable airports are the government-owned Líneas Aéreas Paraguayas, opened in 1962, and the modern international Silvio Pettirossi, established in 1980 near Asunción. Only 11 airports had paved runways as of 2000. Combined, Paraguay's network of roads, rivers, railways, and airports facilitates its strong trade and transport industry.

Paraguay has substantial economic potential in hydroelectric power, which accounted for 99.79 percent of the nation's electricity in 1999. Paraguay depended on thermoelectric power plants, located in the capital, that burned wood and oil until 1968. That year, the Acaray hydroelectric power plant was built, and there have also been large joint ventures in hydroelectricity with Argentina and Brazil. The government-owned National Power Company distributes all electricity.

The communications network in Paraguay is limited in terms of its population size. There is insufficient telephone service and poor connections outside of Asunción and its surrounding area. Still, much of the population has access to newspapers, radios, and televisions, and depends on them for news and information. The nation has 4 television stations (2001), 79 radio stations (1997), and 4 Internet service providers (1999). Foreign investment has pushed the communications technology of the nation ahead in recent years. In the mid-1990s, for example, PanAmSat signed a 15-year contract with 2 Paraguayan television stations to provide satellite service.

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