Mongolia - Infrastructure, power, and communications

During the Cold War (1945-89), Mongolia's transportation infrastructure enjoyed a relatively high level of investment to insure its military usefulness. Afterwards,

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
Mongolia 27 151 63 10.8 1 2.7 5.4 0.04 6
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
China N/A 333 272 40.0 19 1.6 8.9 0.50 8,900
Kazakhstan N/A 384 231 N/A 2 0.1 N/A 1.42 70
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.

investments in transportation infrastructure diminished considerably, and the quality of the roads is declining. The country is served by the 1,928 kilometer (1,198 mile) Trans-Mongolian railway, which connects it with both Beijing and Moscow. Mongolia also has 49,250 kilometers (30,603 miles) of unevenly distributed highways, of which only 1,674 kilometers (1,040 miles) are paved, mainly in the northern part of the country. In the south and southwest, horses and camels are still important modes of transportation. An international airport connects Ulaanbaatar with Beijing, Moscow, and other destinations, and there are 34 smaller airports, only 7 of which have paved runways.

Electrical power is supplied by the Central Electricity System (CES), which produces around 2.66 billion kilowatt hours (1998) of power. Five coal-fired power stations provide almost 85 percent of the total, with the balance imported from Russia. During the 1990s, attempts were made to renovate the CES with international aid and to build small hydroelectric and wind-powered stations. Power interruptions are common, and some remote areas remain without electricity, where diesel oil, wood, and dried horse and camel dung is used as fuel.

Telecommunication services in Mongolia have been under reconstruction since the early 1990s. In 1997, there were 93,800 telephone lines, 2,000 mobile-phone subscribers, and 13,000 personal computers. Internet access was established in 1996.

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