Due to its geographic location at the extreme south of the planet, Chile challenges distance in its attempt to communicate with the rest of the world. The connectivity and foreign trade constitute an unarguable priority. It is not by chance that the country stands out for the efficiency of its modern infrastructure and network of telecommunications. These two factors have allowed foreign exchange to surpass US$ 129 billions in 2008, transforming foreign commerce into an authentic mode of growth and development, 69 % of the GDP.
According too a recent Connectivity Scorecard 2009 study conducted Nokia, Chile places third in connectivity rankings among the economies based on resources and efficiency, surpassing Russia, India and all the countries of Latin America.
Some interesting facts: In Chile, there are almost as many mobile phones as inhabitants. Chileans frequent Internet social networks more than any other countries and, when they drive their automobiles on the new urban highways of Santiago, they use a modern system of automatic pay for tolls, one of the first ones of the world that operates with transmitters or transponders.
The Chilean community is 16 million inhabitants and there are 14.8 million subscribers to mobile phones. This level of penetration exceeds all other countries in Latin America.
One of every two Chileans commonly used Internet in 2008 (48%), an amount equivalent to European countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary. The country is one of the world leaders in using Facebook and broadband use is comparable to developed countries. 32% of the homes have broadband.
Along with the massive growth of social networks, the utilization of new forms of payment has also increased. The volume of electronic transactions will surpass the US$ 400 million in 2009.
Unlike mobile phones, the number of landline telephones remained relatively constant during 2001, with a total of 3.5 million lines throughout the country.
In January 2009, the Subsecretary of Telecommunications reported 1.47 million subscribers to paid television, 32.8% of households had pay-TV subscription.
Commercial Air Activity
At the beginning of 2009, AméricaEconomía magazine polled a group of 1500 top executives, who claimed that the Santiago airport was the second best in the region, only surpassed by Miami.
In addition to the Santiago airport, constructed in 1994 and given the name Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, there are 13 other air terminals throughout the country, including Easter Island.
Around 20 international airlines operate from Chile with more than 30 direct flights to places around the world. LAN is the biggest Chilean Airline in the country. It forms alliances with Oneworld and has connections with other Latin American countries, North America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe. Sky Airline is another important national operator and offers flights throughout Chile and to other countries.
During 2009, 9.7 million passengers were transported by air, 50.9% of which were international. According to the Civil Aeronautics Board, domestic air traffic grew 16.5% compared to last year.
Air freight reached 282 thousand tons, with destinations as diverse as Miami, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Lima and Atlanta.
A consistent alliance between the State and private enterprise, through a system of innovative concessions, has made the modernization and improvement of a large highway system possible. 80 thousand kilometers (50 thousand miles) wide and long connect Arica to Quellón in Chiloé. In the south part of Chile, the Austral Highway joins the city of Puerto Montt with the town of O’Higgins in the Patagonia..
The Government Program Infraestructura para la Competitividad (Infrastructure for the Competitiveness), allocated in 2007 alone, through the Department of Public Works, US$ 780 thousand million for the conservation and restoration of highways, increased road capacity, and better accesses to tourist zones, among other projects.
The city of Santiago, country capital, is equipped with a modern system of highways. There are 155 kilometers (96 miles) of high speed roads with a free flow system of automatic tolls, facilitated by an electronic device attached to the windshield of every vehicle. The device is known as the Televía.
There are six rail systems, managed by the State Railroad Company (EFE), that transport passengers to the central zone of the country. The most extensive joins the 400 kilometers (248 miles) that separate Santiago from the city of Chillán.
The most populated cities have modern train or subway systems. The Santiago metro transports 2.5 million people per day, through five lines and 90 stations. En total there are almost 85 kilometers (52 miles) of lines under and above ground. At the end of 2010 eleven new stations will be brought on line, and the total extension will exceed 100 kilometers (62 miles).
The Valparaíso metro, Merval, has 20 stations that unite the port city with the town Limache, which is 43 kilometers (26 miles) away.
Concepción’s Biotrain crosses the city from northeast to southwest, offering two lines and 23 stops, covering 50 kilometers (31 miles).
With the exception of Santiago, all of the regions of Chile have important marine terminals, administered by the state or private corporations. About 80% of the country’s foreign commerce circulates through the ports.
Statistical data from the Economic Commission for Latin America (Cepal), place Chile, along side Colombia, in fourth place among the countries with major port movement in the region, topped by only Brasil, Mexico, and Argentina.
According to the information from the Chamber of Marine and Ports of Chile, 83 million tons of cargo of all types were circulated through the ports in 2007, which represents a growth of 10,4 % compared to the previous period.
Only 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Santiago, the ports of Valparaiso and San Antonio, the latter being the principal port in Chile, control the bulk of the activity and have been recognized among the ten principal port terminals of Latin America.