Country Listing

Brazil Table of Contents


Transportation and Communications

Roads: Since 1970s government has given funding priority to roads and highways. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and other major cities have modern metropolitan expressways. Practically all state capitals linked by paved roads. Brazilian highways of modern design. Road network most developed, but maintenance remains problem. Highway transportation of passengers and freight leading form of transportation in Brazil, with highway system 1,670,148 kilometers in length (increase of more than 300 percent since 1970s), of which 161,503 kilometers paved. At least three-fourths of Brazil's population and goods transported by highway. Although Brazil borders all but two South American countries, only in southern regions are links to adjoining countries adequate; in North and Center-West, roads to adjoining countries barely passable or only planned. Large areas remain inaccessible. In part because of general disregard of traffic laws, automobile collisions claim lives of roughly 50,000 Brazilians per year, and drivers responsible for accidents rarely held accountable. New Transit Code took effect in January 1998, imposing a tough new set of traffic laws.

Railroads: Rail network, in proportion to highways, relatively small. Rail lines cover only 30,129 kilometers, of which 2,150 kilometers electrified. However, some special projects have been implemented, such as Steel Railroad (Ferrovia do Aço) to connect inland iron ore mining areas to steel mills and port facilities on Southeast's coast. Its western network sold to a foreign consortium in early 1996. Federal Railroad System, Inc. (Rêde Ferroviária Federal S.A.--RFFSA) has operated 73 percent of Brazil's suburban railroads, with 21,951 kilometers of track and 40,500 employees in nineteen states. In 1995 RFFSA hauled 85 million tons of cargo, and Southeastern Railroad Line accounted for 45 million tons. Central-eastern network 7,132 kilometers; western network 1,620 kilometers. Privatization of financially troubled RFFSA began in 1995.

Subways: Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo have new urban subway systems. Although São Paulo needs a 200-kilometer network, it had only forty-three kilometers in 1996. Same US$0.60 fare takes one anywhere on São Paulo's Metrô network. New South Line of Rio de Janeiro's Metrô extends to Copacabana.

Ports: Thirty-six deep-water ports. Most, including Rio de Janeiro and Santos (largest in Latin America), being privatized.

Waterways: Some 50,000 kilometers navigable. Boats main form of transportation in many parts of Amazon Basin. Amazon navigable by ocean steamers as far as 3,680 kilometers to Iquitos, Peru. Constitutional amendment ending state monopoly of domestic shipping approved August 15, 1995. Until regulations approved, foreign ships may carry only passengers.

Pipelines: Approximately 2,000 kilometers for crude oil, 465 kilometers for refined products, and 257 kilometers for natural gas. Planned Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline targeted for completion in 1997; will be 3,415 kilometers in length, running from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to São Paulo. Pipeline will also con-nect to states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais and link with existing refineries and production fields in São Paulo's Campos and Santos basins.

Air Transport and Airports: Vast network of air services in existence since 1930s. Direct air connections to all other countries in South America, several in Central America, and all three in North America, as well as to every continent. Routes--both at commuter and medium- to long-range level--operated by various commercial airlines, increasingly using airplanes designed and built in Brazil. All airlines registered in Brazil are private enterprises, some allowing foreign-equity participation. Major airlines include Rio Grande do Sul Airline (Viação Aérea Rio Grande do Sul--Varig) and São Paulo Airline (Viação Aérea São Paulo--VASP). Ten fully operational international airports.

Radio: Number of radios--about 30 million (1995). Number of radio stations: at least 2,751; 334 being installed. Range of radio stations: national/regional, 2,932; tropical (in tropical areas), eighty-two; shortwave, 151; and FM, 1,248. Estimated audience: 100 million. Government has ultimate control over radio stations through power to control licensing. Government broadcasts domestically for hour each night by requisitioning time on all national radio stations. Rádio Nacional (government's overseas radio service) transmits information and cultural programs supportive of Brazilian foreign policy and commercial activity to Europe, the Americas, Africa, and parts of Asia. Station's medium-wave and short-wave broadcasts in Portuguese to the Amazon Region. Brazilian Radio Broadcasting Company (Empresa Brasileira de Rádiodifusão--Radiobrás) became Brasília-based Brazilian Communications Company (Empresa Brasileira de Comunicações S.A.--Radiobrás) in 1988. Radiobrás directs programming.

Television: Number of televisions increased by only 200,000 from 1985 to 1995, when total figure reached 26.2 million. Estimated potential audience: 80 million. TV programming run primarily by private enterprises. Licenses to operate issued by executive branch through Ministry of Communications and approved by Congress. Number of television stations, at least 257 and thirty-one under installation; commercial TV stations, 269; educational and university TV stations, twenty (owned by federal government, state governments, universities, and educational foundations). TV networks: Globo Television Network (Rêde Globo de Televisão), eighty-one stations; Rêde Bandeirantes, sixty-three stations; Brazilian Television System (Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão--SBT), seventy-seven stations; Rêde Manchete, thirty-six stations; TV Record, twelve stations. Domestic dissemination of signals beamed by all five national networks through two domestic Brasilsat satellites operated by Brazilian Telecommunications Company (Empresa Brasileira de Telecomuniçacões--Embratel), government's national communications corporation. Embratel also operates micro-wave system available to all stations. Various "cable" systems are also being developed in major Brazilian cities. Rather than actually transmitting by physical cable, these systems work via satellite to individual receiving dishes installed for subscribers. NET System, being installed in major cities, operates by cable. Every major television market in Brazil has five networks represented by affiliate station. Much of television program-ming entertainment, especially famous telenovelas (prime-time soap-opera-style dramas). Most cities also have educational TV channel, TV Educativa, which carries cultural, documentary, and sometimes foreign language programs.

Telephones: Number of telephones 13,237,852 (1995, IBGE). About half of telephones and one-third of installed cellular phone lines in São Paulo. Residents of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro must pay about US$3,000 to obtain telephone line. Nine lines per 100 population. About 98 percent of rural properties have no telephone lines. Government plans to triple number of fixed phone lines to 40 million by 2003 and to increase number of cellular links from 800,000 to 8.2 million by 1999. In July 1996, Brazilian legislators formulating plans to privatize state-owned monopoly of Brazilian Telecommunica-tions (Telecomunicações Brasileiras S.A.--Telebrás), which has 90 percent of Brazilian telephone subscribers and twenty-seven regional companies. Telebrás launched three cable systems but was facing stiff competition in cable market from publishing giants Grupo Abril (TVA Brasil) and Globo (Globocabo and NET Brasil). Sales of telecommunications products in 1995 accounted for US$2.1 billion. In 1997 Brazil had 7,600 kilo-meters of fiber optic cable; additional 7,400 kilometers sched-uled for completion in 1999.

Telecommunications Organizations: Two main telecommu-nications organizations are National Department of Telecom-munications (Departamento Nacional de Telecomunicações--Dentel), located within Ministry of Communications in Brasília; and Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Stations (Associação Brasileira de Emissoras de Rádio e Televisão--ABERT), also located in Brasília. Dentel supervises television and radio broadcasting.

Print Media: 333 newspapers published daily in Brazil in 1993. All newspapers privately owned and operated. Total daily circulation varies between 2.2 and 2.6 million. Leading newspapers: Folha de São Paulo (São Paulo; liberal, center-left; daily circulation 540,000 copies; Sunday circulation 1,200,000); O Globo (Rio de Janeiro; conservative; 280,000, daily; 525,000, Sunday); O Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo; independent; 320,000, daily; 650,000, Sunday); Jornal do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro; Catholic, conservative; 116,000, daily; 160,000, Sunday); weekday Gazeta Mercantil (São Paulo; business; 100,000, daily); Correio Braziliense (Brasília; 50,000, daily; 100,000, Sunday); Jornal de Brasília (Brasília; 22,000, daily; 26,000, Sunday). Periodicals: Of several hundred periodicals published in Brazil, most influential and widely circulated news and current affairs magazines are: Veja (1,207,521), Visão, and IstoÉ (491,752). Leading business news biweekly is Exáme (188,000). Leading illustrated general interest magazine is Manchete (130,000). All but Rio de Janeiro-based Manchete published in São Paulo. Domestic news agencies: Rio de Janeiro-based Agência Globo and Agência JB; Brasília-based Agência ANDA and Empresa Brasileira de Noticias; and São Paulo-based Agência Estado and Agência Fôlha.

Data as of April 1997

Country Listing

Brazil Table of Contents