Oman - Infrastructure, power, and communications

Due to the large-scale program of road construction carried out by the Ministry of Communications over the past 3 decades, there are now approximately 6,000 kilometers (3,720 miles) of paved roads and 24,000 kilometers (14,880 miles) of unpaved roads in Oman. In 1970 there were only 10 kilometers (6 miles) of paved roads and about 1,700 kilometers (1,054 miles) of unpaved road in the entire country. The number of licensed automobiles on the road increased from 261,627 in 1992 to 404,375 in 1998 and this increase in traffic also led to an increase in the number of road deaths from 218 in 1992 to 478 in 1998. Oman does not have a rail system.

The country's main airport, Muscat Seeb International, has a capacity of 1.3 million passengers. The

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
Oman 29 598 595 0 43 2.7 21 2.87 50
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Saudi Arabia 57 321 262 N/A 31 N/A 49.6 1.17 300
Yemen 15 64 29 N/A 1 N/A 1.2 0.02 10
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.

airport has been fully modernized and boasts duty-free shopping areas, impressive lounges, and large transit areas. The main runway has been extended to 3,585 meters (11,760 feet) and the passenger terminals have been expanded to handle 3,000 passengers an hour. In 1995 the total number of passengers passing through Seeb International airport amounted to 2,176,033. Salalah, the country's second airport, which was built initially as a military installation, began operating a passenger terminal in 1986 and the main runway was extended in 1992. Oman now has 6 civil airports in total at Seeb, Salalah, Sur, Masirah, Khasab, and Diba in Musandam. The country's main port is Mina Sultan Qaboos, which was completed in 1974 with a capacity to handle 2.2 million tons annually. Many improvements have since been made, including dredging the harbor entrance to a depth of 13 meters (42 feet). The second-largest port is called Mina Raysut and it is this port that serves Salalah and the Governorate of Dhofar. The construction of a third port in Suhar started in 1999 and the project is expected to cost US$250 million.

Electrical power in Oman is supplied both by the public sector and by the private sector. In 1999 the total national production amounted to 5.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) with consumption reaching 4.9 billion kWh. In 1999 there were 31 power stations with a total installed capacity of 1,662 megawatts. The government-owned General Telecommunications Organization (GTO) was established in 1980 and was responsible for setting up the modern telephone system throughout the country. Thirty years ago there were only 500 lines in and around the capital and international telephone calls could be made only through radio channels. As of 1998, all the telephone exchanges became digital and one can now telephone all over the world. Oman has an overall telephone capacity of 420,000 lines, both fixed and mobile, and given the widespread use of the telephone, it is estimated that Oman will need about 500,000 telephone lines by the year 2020, which will require massive investment.

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