The main traditional form of communication, mail, has been supplemented in the past decade or two by the telephone and high-technology communication services, though the postal service has continued to grow in size and efficiency. There are six or more pickups a day in most of Taiwan's large cities, making it possible to get a letter to another party in the same city within a few hours and to most cities throughout the island the next day. Most foreign visitors to Taiwan are very impressed with its postal system.
Telephones came into popular use in the 1960s. During the 1970s, the number of telephones increased eightfold to more than 2.5 million by the close of the decade. Now most families have telephones; in fact, there is an average of more than 106 telephone sets per 100 households. There are also more than 1.5 million pagers in Taiwan and over one-half million cellular telephones. International satellite long-distance and direct-dial calls can be made to and from Taiwan, and a transhorizon microwave system is in service to Hong Kong and the Philippines. Video-telephone service is available between Taiwan and the Pescadores and between Taiwan and Quemoy. The use of the Internet has boomed in recent years; by the end of 1998, it had reached 2.2 million, or more than double the previous year.39
Taiwan's meteorological services are also well developed. Numerous weather stations and radar and satellite information centers provide constant weather data, and typhoon and tidal-wave predictions are considered accurate by global standards. There are also several seismological stations for predicting and measuring earthquakes, prevalent in and around Taiwan. The country likewise has systems for measuring radioactive fallout, sea conditions, and astronomical and ozonic changes.