Puerto Rico - Infrastructure, power, and communications

Except for its lack of a public railway system, Puerto Rico has a well-developed infrastructure and transportation network. The island's minimal railways are used only for hauling sugarcane. The vast majority of the island's 14,400 kilometers (8,949 miles) of roadways are paved. Some 30 international and domestic airports allow for easy access to various cities on the island and provide transportation for industry and tourism. Economically speaking, the most important form of transportation in Puerto Rico is by water. Puerto Rico's location between the Americas and en route to the Panama Canal, coupled with its valuable port cities, boosts the economy through trade and commerce. There is no Puerto Rican merchant marine; the majority of its ships are owned by the United States. The advanced infrastructure and transportation systems also make it easier to profit from the booming tourism industry.

Power is widely available on the island, with even isolated rural villages receiving electricity and running water. The island is self-sufficient in power production; it produces and consumes almost 18 billion kWh each year (1998). Puerto Rico generates 98 percent of its electric power from oil, with coal and hydroelectric power accounting for the remainder. PREPA, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, is the only distributor of power on the island.

Puerto Rico's media include a free press, some of which is independent and some of which is politically aligned. Local and U.S. mainland newspapers are easily accessible. The 2 major daily papers on the island are El Vocero de Puerto Rico and El Nuevo Día . Radio and television are easily accessible, and have programs similar to those on the U.S. mainland. As of 1997 there were 18 television stations and 3 stations of the U.S. armed forces. Islanders owned more than 1 million televisions and 2.7 million radio sets. Puerto Rico has a modern telephone network, integrated with the United States. The network includes digital and cellular services, and 18 Internet service providers.

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