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Utilities in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic is probably the Latin American nation with the most advanced telecommunications system. Cellular phone service is offered by Verizon, Centennial and Orange (France Telecom), while other companies are looking to enter the Dominican market. The intense competition, and multi-million investments of these companies, has allowed the DR to stay at the vanguard of technological developments, and continuously implement aggressive marketing programs to introduce new products and services to the Dominican market.

If you already have a cell phone you can activate it here, depending on whether your phone is activated by one of the major cellular service providers, Orange GSM, Centennial CDMA, and Verizon CDMA.

If you have a GSM phone, you can go to any number of Orange outlets and for a small fee, they will activate your phone, and you can either purchase pre-paid phone cards or a phone plan. If you have a CDMA phone, you can go to any number of Verizon or Centennial outlets and purchase a plan.

LAN line telephone service is also available. Tricom and Verizon (Codetel) are the two main telephone companies in the DR. Both offer good service at reasonable prices.

Recently, Tricom has begun to offer a new telephone plan where customers in the Dominican Republic can call New York or anywhere in the US, and be charged at local dialing rates. This development is a clear indicator of the progress of telecommunications in the Dominican Republic.

High-speed internet availability varies throughout the country, but is available in most of the major areas. The major DSL providers are Tricom and Verizon, with the Aster communications company moving into this sector recently. These services are available in many different areas of the country, and you can check their availability in your area by visiting their websites.

Wireless Internet is available in the DR. In Santo Domingo you can find it at PUCMM, INTEC, and UNIBE Universities, and also at the Acropolis Mall.

At beaches like Boca Chica, Playa Vista beach bar and El Caucho Hotel and Restaurant provide wireless service.

In Sosua wifi can be found at Rocky’s bar, Eddy’s Sports Bar, The NY Shark Bar, and La Roca Restaurant. In Samana wifi can be found at Hotel Moorea. And in Santiago wifi can be found at Cosa Nostra Restaurant and at the main PUCMM campus.

Cable services in the DR are provided by a variety of companies. These companies offer both English and Spanish language television, plus a range of channels in other languages. Also, the channels are from not only the Dominican Republic, but also the United States and Europe.

The main service provider in the DR is Telecable from Tricom. Aster is concentrated in Santo Domingo, but is expanding its service throughout the Dominican Republic. There are also smaller distributors that provide cable service like Cable Net and ExitoVision.

If you can afford the service there is also satellite television available from Direct TV, which is distributed by Caribe Dish System, for example. Once you purchase the satellite dish, the vendor will provide you with details on installation and maintenance.

Water is an important utility. Tap water in the DR is safe to use for cooking, washing clothes, bathing, or brushing your teeth, but large consumption of tap water can be dangerous. This is why you should boil your water, or buy a water bubbler. Bubblers range in price, and can cost between RD$4,000 and RD$8,000, and the refilled tanks cost about RD$40. Also, water purifiers can be cheap alternative to the water situation.

Power service in the DR is provided by two private companies, Distribuidora del Este (AES), responsible for the east side of Santo Domingo and eastern provinces, and Distribuidora del Sur (EDESUR) and Distribuidora del Norte (EDENORTE), responsible for the south and southwestern parts of the city and northern and central provinces. There are also independent electricity providers like Distribuidora Del Este (EDEESTE), Itabo, CEPM, and CEB.

Private generators are responsible for about 50% of the power generated, and the government retains the control over hydroelectric generating plants and the transmission lines.

While privatization has already begun (the power infrastructure operates under a mixed government and private sector system), reliable power supply has not yet been achieved and homes and companies still need to be able to rely on their own back-up systems.

Power outages are extremely common in the Dominican Republic, and unfortunately the high price of electricity doesn’t always guarantee the quality service you would expect. This is the reason why many Dominicans, and foreigners who have moved here, have invested in alternative power sources. Whether it be generators or inverters, because of the unreliable nature of the electricity, it is better to be safe, than left in the dark.

As an added assurance to the dilemma of power outages is to use gas stoves. Stoves powered by electricity won’t work during power outages, so if you can, buy a gas tank, and a gas stove. It is a cheaper and more reliable power source. A 100 pound tank, for example, can cost around RD$4,000, and lasts for about three months if used continuously.

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