Austria - Infrastructure, power, and communications

A distinctive feature of the Austrian energy sector is its diversified sources of supply. In 2000, the total primary energy supply included liquid fuels (38 percent), natural gas (24 percent), hydropower (13 percent), other renewable resources (13 percent) and coal (12 percent). Nuclear power is legally banned, following a referendum on the subject in 1978. The renewable resources share in Austria's energy supply increased from 16 percent in 1973 to 26 percent in 2000. The government plans to completely liberalize the electricity market by 2003. Preparations are also under way to open up the natural gas market.

For decades, the telecommunications industry was a monopoly in Austria, with the state-owned Post and Telecom Austria (PTA) being the only national supplier of networks and telecommunication services. Because of EU liberalization directives, the government enforced legislation to open the telecom and energy sectors to competition. The Austrian telecommunications sector now exhibits much liberalization, though high interconnection fees are still a problem. Austria has a highly developed telecommunications system with 4 million telephones, 27 radio stations, 47 television stations, and 4 satellite

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
Austria 296 753 516 139.1 282 N/A 233.4 252.01 1,840
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Germany 311 948 580 214.5 170 73.1 304.7 173.96 14,400
Hungary 186 689 437 146.5 105 17.7 58.9 93.13 600
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.

ground stations. Radio, television, telephone, and telegraph systems were all state monopolies until the broadcasting system was converted into a joint-stock company in 1957. The Austrian Broadcasting Company operates 3 radio and 2 television stations nationwide. Telephone and telegraph communications are directed by the Austrian postal and telecommunications service. More than 20 daily newspapers are published. Daily newspaper circulation averages more than 3.7 million. Influential dailies include Die Presse (published in Vienna) and Salzburger Nachrichten (published in Salzburg).

Austria has an excellent network of transportation and communication; due to its strategic location and relative political neutrality, Austria has established itself as a broker and an international place of encounter among nations. This role is exemplified by the countless summit meetings and conferences which the country hosts every year. Austria is also anticipating the increasing importance of its transport sector as an essential European communications hub. A factor of the growing importance of the transportation web is the growing European energy transit network (the transport of oil, natural gas and electricity), much of it passing through Austria.

A landlocked and mountainous country, Austria depends on roads and rail passage for a major share of its foreign trade. In the transportation segment, it has 200,000 kilometers (124,000 miles) of roads and 6,028 kilometers (3,744 miles) of railroads, of which about 5,388 kilometers (3,347 miles) are state owned and 640 kilometers (398 miles) privately owned. Furthermore, more than 350 kilometers (217 miles) of inland waterways carry approximately one-fifth of the country's total trade. The main river ports are Linz, Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, Klagenfurt, and Innsbruck. The Danube River, the only navigable waterway with barges carrying up to 1,800 tons, is an important connection between the North Sea, Germany, and the Black Sea. In terms of air connection, Austria has 55 civil airports, 20 with paved runways. The main international airport is Schwechat located in southeast Vienna.

International flights are available from the airports in Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, and Salzburg.

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