Moldova - Infrastructure, power, and communications

Moldova is landlocked and depends on railroad and road networks for trade. Soviet-built railroads are of decent quality and comprise 1,318 kilometers (824 miles) of tracks; 10,531 kilometers (6,582 miles) of roads account for most local transport and 80 percent of passenger travel. The major rivers—the Nistru (Dniester) and the Prut—are used for local transport. In 1995, the government established Terminal S.A., a joint Moldovan-Greek venture to build and maintain an oil terminal in Giurgiulesti on the Danube with the assistance of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The country is served also by pipelines for natural gas from Russia (310 kilometers, or 192 miles, in 1992). Air traffic is served by the state-owned carrier, Air Moldova, and by 2 smaller airlines.

Moldova's electricity production was 5.661 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 1998, 93 percent of which were generated in thermal plants and 7 percent in hydropower facilities. The country imported 1.8 billion kWh in 1998. Domestic sources account for 2 percent of primary energy supply, and gas accounts for 61 percent of the imports, oil for 20 percent, and coal for 10 percent. A large gas power plant in Transnistria produces 85 percent of the electricity. Moldova remains reliant on Russian gas, and Gazprom periodically cuts off supplies due to chronic non-payment, as do Romania, Ukraine, and Transnistria for unpaid electricity. Mounting bills result from non-payment by consumers, electricity theft, and wastage. The sector has been restructured into 2 generators and 5 distributor companies, and in 2000, Moldova completed

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
Moldova 60 740 297 17.6 2 0.2 6.4 2.42 25
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Russia 105 418 420 78.5 5 0.4 40.6 13.06 2,700
Romania 300 319 233 119.2 29 N/A 10.2 9.01 600
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.

the first round of electricity privatization, selling 3 of the distributors to Union Fenosa of Spain.

Moldova has an antiquated telephone system with 15 lines per 100 inhabitants in 1997, very few pay phones, many villages without service, and a mobile phone penetration rate of just 0.3 percent in 1998. Moldtelecom, the national telecom, is currently upgrading and has signed agreements with Denmark's Great Northern Telegraph (GNT), which is investing $10 million in a digital switch system and fiber-optic technology. The government intends to sell 51 percent of Moldtelecom following a failed attempt at privatization in 1998 to a Greek company. In 1998, Voxtel, a consortium comprising 1 French, 1 Romanian, and 2 Moldovan companies, launched mobile service in the GSM standard. In 2000, Moldova awarded a second GSM license to Moldcell, a joint venture between Turkish Turkcell (77 percent) and Chişina˘u-based Accent Electronics (23 percent). In 1999, the Internet usage was 5.8 per 1,000 of the population, there were 16 Internet service providers, and Moldova leased out its "md" domain name to inhabitants of the state of Maryland in the United States.

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