In 1987 Libya had a modern telecommunications system that provided
high-quality service between the country's main population centers.
All telecommunications activities were carried out by the General
Post, Telephone, and Telegraph Organization, a subsidiary of the
Secretariat of Communications. In 1975 a microwave system connecting
radio, telephone, and television signals along the coast was established;
it was superseded in 1985 by a US$25 million highcapacity cable
system and a submarine cable that linked the whole coastal strip
with parts of the south all the way to the Chadian border. The
transmission systems included microwave radio relay, coaxial cable,
submarine cable, tropospheric scatter, and satellites. The system
was capable of serving approximately 10 million telephone subscribers,
including those along the densely populated Mediterranean coast.
Telecommunications in Libya were greatly improved in the late
1970s and early 1980s. The interior of the country was served
by various systems. Radio relay and coaxial cable extended to
numerous points and a domestic satellite system was constructed
to serve areas not fully integrated into the ground-based networks.
The number of telephone lines increased from 90,000 in 1978 to
215,000 in 1985--an average of 1 telephone for every 100 citizens.
Switching was predominantly automatic.
International telecommunications links, like the domestic routes,
were linked via multiple transmission systems. Submarine cables
extended from Tripoli to Marseilles, France, and Catania, Italy,
providing telephone and telegraph circuits between Libya and Western
Europe. A satellite ground- station complex located near Tripoli
operated through the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean satellites
of the International Telecommunications Satellite (INTELSAT) organization.
Additionally, Libya was a member of the regional Arab Satellite
Radio broadcast transmissions were made by five high-power and
numerous low-power AM stations for domestic service and by a highpower
transmitter located at Sabratah, near Tripoli, for international
shortwave service. FM broadcasting was expanded to reach most
of the country.
* * *
Many studies on the economy of Libya since the revolution tend
to emphasize the political aspects of Libyan economic policy,
giving scant attention to the economic ramifications of governmental
policy choices. A major exception to this rule are the works of
J.A. Allan, who has written several excellent analytical pieces
on the Libyan economy. Allan's Libya, the Experience of Oil
remains the principal source on the economy before 1980. Allan
presents a useful summary of the problems facing Libyan agriculture
in his chapter "Capital Has Not Substituted for Water in Agriculture,"
to be found in J.A. Allan (ed.), Libya Since Independence.
Another good summary of the economy can be found in the chapter
by Stace Birks and Clive Sinclair in Richard Lawless and Allan
Findlay (eds.), North Africa. In addition to these analytical
works, much information can be culled from the Economist Intelligence
Unit's Quarterly Economic Review series on Libya, various
issues of Middle East Economic Digest, and Africa
Research Bulletin. The best source of government statistics
is the Central Bank of Libya, Annual Report series, for
various years. (For complete citations and further information,
Data as of 1987