Transportation and Communications

Transportation was seen has a priority in the 1990s, pushed by the growing use of automobiles and industries. The country has a 68,732 km network of highways. 1,300 km are expressways connecting all the coastline, and the northern, centre-southern, and southern boarders with Spain.

Seaports are important due to Portugal's relation with the sea, and its strategic position in Europe and in the Atlantic ocean. The main seaports are Lisbon in the centre, Leixões (Porto) in the North, Setúbal and Sines in the south, Funchal and Ponta Delgada in the Atlantic. The most important airports are those of Lisbon, Faro and Porto, these last two had great development recently. There are also important airports in the islands, such has the airport of Funchal (Madeira Island), Porto Santo (Porto Santo Island), and Ponta Delgada (Azores).

Lisbon has a Metro system since 1959, today Lisbon Metro has a length of 39 km. Porto Metro system is operating since 2002 has 70 km of line connecting, for instance, the airport to trains to Lisbon. In fact, Lisbon Metro (Oriente station) and Porto Metro (Campanhã station) are linked by sharing stations with modern pendular trains. Pendular and other trains connect Oriente station to the Algarve. Other two metro systems for other cities are projected. TGV trains are also projected, it will connect Porto and Lisbon, and these with Spanish cities, and works will start in a couple of years.

In the technology area, Portugal has one of the higher rates in the world when possessing a mobile phone (over 100%) and there are more mobile phone subscribers than main line ones for some years. Third generation mobile phones, UMTS, are being largely commercialized by operators since early 2004. The main telecom company is PT (Portugal Telecom), a telecommunications multinational, it dominates some markets, among them the national one. In the mobile section, the market is split between three operators: TMN (PT group), Vodafone, and Optimus (SONAE group).

Main television broadcasters are the state-run RTP, SIC, and TVI. Most Portuguese see television through cable (in the end of 2004: 72% of the homes), where the major boradcasters keep thematic channels. The main cable company TV Cabo (PT group) is trying to shift all its costumers services to digital after an unsuccessful experience with Interactive TV.

The competition between the major broadband Internet providers of the PT and Clix groups has recently caused free increases in the available bandwidth provided to home users (from 512 kbit/s and 1 Mbit/s to 2 and 4 Mbit/s), speeds go up to 16 Mbit/s in Clix (SONAE group) lines and 8 Mbit/s in other companies, most notably PT Group cable and ADSL companies, where a 20Mbit/s service is expected to be launched in later 2005, to compete with the much lower-priced services of Clix, although PT group is the leader of the market. More than 8% (4th quarter, 2004) of the population use high-speed internet services, the number pratically doubled comparing with the data from the previous year. Considering that 41% of the homes in Portugal had a computer in the first quarter of 2004, only 26% of the population had Internet; an additional 4% also used it. While 78% of the companies with more than 10 employees had an Internet service.