Sri Lanka has a well-developed transport system, including a road network of approximately 100,000 kilometers (62,140 miles). A rail network consisting of about 1,944 kilometers (1,208 miles) of tracks links Colombo with the rest of the country. Road networks are under severe strain due to the rapid increase in the number of vehicles since the 1980s. The number of registered vehicles nearly tripled from 478,000 in the mid-1980s to 1.38 million in 2000, generating severe traffic congestion. With a rising number of vehicles, and the need for a more efficient road network to facilitate the movements of goods and services, the government is actively engaged in improving, rehabilitating, and extending the existing network.
Sri Lanka has 14 airfields, the largest of which is the Katunayake International Airport, the principal gateway to Sri Lanka. The country is serviced by 32 airlines, both domestic and foreign, and the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, handles about 56 percent of international passengers to and from Sri Lanka. It has scheduled operations to 35 destinations in 26 countries covering Australia, the Indian subcontinent, the Far East, Europe, and the Middle East. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is responsible for operating the ports. The SLPA operates 4 major ports in Colombo, Galle (in the south), Trincomalee (in the east), and Kankasanturai (in the north). In addition, limited shipping facilities are provided by the Ceylon Shipping Corporation and by several private sector shipping companies. A major restructuring of the cargo handling facilities in Colombo port is now taking place in conjunction with the British PNO company.
Hydropower is the major source of electricity, accounting for 66 percent of the nation's electricity supply. One of the main sources of hydropower is the gigantic Mahaweli Scheme, which has harnessed the flow of Sri Lanka's longest river in several stages. The remainder is generated through thermal power (34 percent) and most recently, wind power. Electricity generation and distribution has traditionally been a government monopoly . However, the private sector has become much more involved in power generation during the past decades.
Telecommunications is the fastest growing sector in the country. During the first half of 2000, the telecommunications sector grew by 11 percent. Sri Lanka Telecom Ltd. (SLT) is the major supplier; its network provided 44,228 new telephone connections during the first half of 2000, with total network subscriptions of 621,394. The demand for telephones is growing much faster than supply: at the end of June 2000, there were 246,560 applicants on the waiting list. To meet rising demand the SLT is expanding its capacity with assistance from international donors. In addition to the SLT subscriber network, there are 4 cellular phone operators with a subscription of 307,027. Other service providers include wireless local loop telephones (2 operators with 101,093 subscribers), data communication services such as Internet and e-mail (15 operators with 32,633 subscribers), and public phones (6 operators with 7,491 public phone booths).
|Country||Newspapers||Radios||TV Sets a||Cable subscribers a||Mobile Phones a||Fax Machines a||Personal Computers a||Internet Hosts b||Internet Users b|
|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 ( http://www.isc.org ) and are per 10,000 people.|
|SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.|