Television stations: 46 (2012). A combination of state-owned and privately owned broadcast media; 1 state-owned and a number of private TV networks; networks operate repeaters to extend signals throughout country (2007).
In the Dominican Republic there are 46 in VHF and UHF channels free-to-air channels. The programming on the free of charge channels consists mainly of locally produced entertainment shows, news, and comedy shows; and foreign sit-comes, soap operas, movies, cartoons, and sports programs.
The main service provider in the Dominican Republic is Tricom. Aster is concentrated in Santo Domingo, but is expanding its service throughout the Dominican Republic. There are new companies using new technologies that are expanding quickly such as Claro TV (IPTV and Satellite TV), Wind Telecom (MMDS) and SKY (Satellite TV).
On election day in May 2012 government broadcast regulators took two popular national television channels (11 and 33) off the air on the grounds that they violated an electoral law prohibiting distribution of exit poll or other unofficial information regarding the final results of the electoral process. Both channels were closed on the afternoon of May 20 and reopened the next morning.
The Dominican Republic is considered one of the countries with the most advanced telecommunications infrastructures in Latin America, with over 8.9 million cell phones connected (on just about 10 million populants, with 3.5 million of them on extreme poverty conditions) and large companies like Codetel and Orange (FR) on the telecommunications market. Broadband Internet access is growing, with over 622,931 Internet accounts globally and 3,851,278 Internet users as of December, 2010 according to INDOTEL (DR Telecommunications Institute). Broadband DSL represents about 56% of the total Internet subscribers. There is access to regular ADSL, G.SHDSL, and services only on metropolitan areas, costs are high and service is decent. Cable Internet is offered by a couple of cable companies at lower costs than ADSL but the service is very deficient and unreliable. WiFi is becoming more common. It is available in some universities. Most hotels also offer wi-fi internet. The implementation of the WiMAX and HSPA technology by some of the Cellphone service providers are resulting in the rapid investment by other providers in the market to match the new and faster platform of services. Mobile broadband user have seen their percentage grow from 14% in 2007 all the way to 39% in 2010, and will continue to grow as more and more users are opting for this type of technology in a country where Home Broadband speeds are more expensive and slower. Also the ongoing installation of a Fiber-Optic network structure in the National District and the City of Santiago (second largest in the country) will force other competitors into upgrading theirs to be able to compete in the markets they now lead.
There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without judicial oversight.
The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system ensure freedom of speech and press. The independent media are active and express a wide variety of views without restriction. Individuals and groups are generally able to criticize the government publicly and privately without reprisal, although there have been incidents in which authorities intimidated journalists or other news professionals. Local journalists engage in self-censorship, particularly when coverage could adversely affect the economic or political interests of media owners. The government denies using unauthorized wiretapping or other surreptitious methods to interfere with the private lives of individuals and families, however, human rights groups and opposition politicians allege that such interference does occur.