Peru - Infrastructure, power, and communications

Peru has an extensive system of roads that cross most of the mountain and coastal regions. Of the 72,887 kilometers (45,300 miles) of roads, 8,698 kilometers (5,406 miles) are paved. The government dedicated a significant number of resources to building and rebuilding the highway system throughout the 1990s. The principal roads are the Pan-American Highway, which runs the length of the country down the coast; the Central Highway, which connects the capital, Lima, to the Andean highlands; and the Marginal Highway, which penetrates deep into the northeastern jungle region. The number of automobiles and buses more than doubled in the 1990s, making major cities congested and leading to massive increases in roadway fatalities. An average of 3 people a day died in 2000 in public transportation-related accidents. The government has a liberal policy for imports, allowing for a steady influx of older, used automobiles. The Transportation Department estimates that 75 percent of mass transportation vehicles are more than 20 years old. A light rail mass transportation system was started in Lima in the mid-1980s, but abandoned by the central government for all of the 1990s. The project is now in the hands of the city government, which hopes to have the first 8 miles of tracks operational by 2005.

The nation's rail system, which was privatized in 2000, services highland mining operations. Passenger service on the rail system is limited to certain areas, particularly serving the tourist trade between the highland states of Puno, Cusco, and Arequipa. Several highways are in the process of being privatized and the process should conclude this year. One highway, in the state of Arequipa, has already been privatized.

Peru has 234 airports, but the majority are simple airfields serving small, private planes. The principal airport is the Jorge Chavez International Airport located in Lima, with other modern airfields in the major cities. Of the total number of airports, 44 have paved runways. Jorge Chavez International Airport was privatized in February 2001 and 5 other airports, including the tourist destination Cusco are in the final stages of privatization. Peru has a series of excellent, deep-water ports. The largest port facility is in Callao, the port city adjacent to Lima. In addition to Pacific Ocean ports, the country also has 3 large river ports: Iquitos, Pucallpa, and Yurimaguas. Iquitos is located on the Amazon River, while the other 2 ports are located on major tributaries. Peru has 8,598 kilometers (5,344 miles) of navigable riverways. Lake Titicaca, located on the border with Bolivia, is the world's highest navigable lake.

A mix of private and public companies generates electricity, the bulk of which is hydroelectric (74.79 percent). The Peruvian government began privatizing electricity generation, transmission, and supply in the mid-1990s and is continuing the process. U.S. and Spanish companies are the major investors in the sector, which produces 18.28

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
Peru 84 273 144 14.1 30 N/A 18.1 3.09 400
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
Ecuador 70 419 293 11.7 25 N/A 18.5 1.42 35
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.

billion kWh per year. Major natural gas reserves, which should be available to the market by 2003-04, will help diversify dependence on water sources.

Telecommunications services have improved dramatically since the state-owned telephone service was privatized in 1993. Major players in the market include Spain's Telefonica, U.S.-based BellSouth and AT&T, and Italy's TIM. The CIA World Factbook reports that there are 1.5 million fixed lines, while cellular phones top 500,000 (1998 estimates). Telephone analysts predict that mobile phones will outnumber fixed lines in Peru within 3 to 5 years.

There are an estimated 3 million television sets and 13 broadcast stations. Cable television has not yet penetrated the national market, with nearly all of the subscribers concentrated in Lima. There are an estimated 6.65 million radios that can tune into 472 AM stations and 198 FM stations nationwide.

There are 15 Internet service providers and an estimated 800,000 people use the Internet, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Peru has a relatively low per capita number of personal computers, but the country is a pioneer in setting up public Internet booths to allow Internet access at a low cost. These public booths are both public and privately run, with the government installing thousands of Internet access centers in rural areas.

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