Summary of broadband development in Bulgaria
The National Broadband Infrastructure Plan for Next Generation Access 'Connected Bulgaria' and the Policy in the field of electronic communications were adopted in August 2020. The National Development Program Bulgaria 2030 introduced a priority 8 Digital connectivity aiming at building a modern and secure digital infrastructure as a basis for offering more digital services. Also, the Digital Transformation of Bulgaria for the period 2020-2030 approved in July 2020 aims at deploying networks with a very high capacity. State budget and the EU funds will be used to help reach the set aims.
National broadband strategy and policy
- Bulgaria’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (Министерство на транспорта и съобщенията, MTC) coordinates the activities for the implementation of the policy in the field of information and communications technology. The ministry aims to develop a legal framework to ensure an effective environment for the communication business and the construction and maintenance of modern electronic communications infrastructure.
- The State e-Government Agency SEGA (Държавна агенция „Електронно управление“ ДАЕУ) introduces control-related policies, rules, regulations and good practices in the field of electronic governance, strategic planning and initiatives, budget planning and control, coordinates sector-related policies and interdepartmental projects.
- The Communications Regulation Commission (Комисията за регулиране на съобщенията) oversees broadband deployment on a national level and executes the laws and performs regulations as well as supervision in the field of technical standards or use of frequencies.
Main aims for broadband development
The National Broadband Infrastructure Plan for Next Generation Access 'Connected Bulgaria' outlines the steps to provide digital infrastructure for the provision of various services. The measures envisage improving access to high-speed Internet in less populated regions and developing the high-speed mobile Internet in the country. Of key importance for the digitisation of the Bulgarian economy and public services will be investments for the introduction of 5G networks. The plan sets out the need for targeted investments in technological development, completion of the necessary infrastructure and guaranteed network and information security. The main priority fields in the plan are:
- Broadband infrastructure - accelerated building of broadband infrastructure, incl. for the needs of the state administration
- Very high-speed infrastructure – creating conditions for very high-speed networks’ deployment
- Spectrum efficient use - establishing conditions for building NGA networks
- Improving coverage in settlements located in peripheral, sparsely populated and rural areas
- Bridging the Digital divide
- Network security
The plan sets the following target indicators:
- Coverage of 52 % of households by the Fixed Very High Capacity Network (VHCN),
- Take-up of 33% of households of at least 100 Mbps fixed broadband,
- 5G readiness at 50%.
The updated Policy in the field of electronic communications aims to ensure the provision of modern and quality electronic communications services by creating conditions for the development of a competitive market as part of the EU internal market. Priority is the deployment and use of very high-capacity networks, the provision of fifth generation services, effective and sustainable competition, the security of networks and services, as well as advantages for end-users, including equivalent access to the services of people with disabilities.
The Priority 8 Digital connectivity of the National Development Program Bulgaria 2030 aims to build a modern and secure digital infrastructure as a basis for offering more services through digital management. The goal is to build very high capacity networks, which will form a platform for providing a variety of digital value-added services while ensuring that no part of the country or a society group will be left without adequate digital connectivity. The focus is on deploying high-speed networks, especially broadband in rural areas, effective assignment of the spectrum for wireless broadband and 5G, accelerated development and take-up of broadband-dependent services such as cloud, IoT, etc. as well as the development of digital skills and services.
The Digital Transformation of Bulgaria for the period 2020-2030 approved in July 2020 aims at deploying networks with a very high capacity to ensure that no part of the country or a group in society is left without adequate digital connectivity, and provide better access of the enterprises to diverse, high-quality and innovative digital services. Digital connectivity shall contribute to providing access to all major drivers of socio-economic development, such as schools, hospitals, transport centres, major public service providers, etc.
National and regional broadband financial instruments and measures
According to the Priority 8 of the National Development Program Bulgaria 2030, use of the state budget and EU funds is foreseen.
Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF): Bulgaria plans to use financing under the RRF for major connectivity investments. The symmetric gigabit backbone/backhaul networks throughout the country is to be built, with a focus on underserved parts of the country, and connecting with networks at European level. The main road networks (TEN-T) are planned to be covered by 5G to ensure speeds of up to 1 Gbps.
Roadmap to implement the Connectivity toolbox: Bulgaria informed the Commission that it has already implemented a number of best practices such as permit exemptions and fast track procedures; availability of georeferenced information about the occupation level of infrastructure and existence of dark fibre, and easy access to physical infrastructure controlled by public bodies. Bulgaria also indicated that it is currently working on: (i) ensuring that permit applications are submitted through electronic means, (ii) establishing broadband coordinators, and (iii) entrusting a body with a coordination role regarding rights of access to existing physical infrastructure.
Data on broadband development and technologies in Bulgaria
For the latest data on broadband coverage, subscriptions and penetrations, coverage of different broadband technologies and costs, check the scoreboard reports and the country reports of the Digital Economy & Society Index (DESI).
Spectrum assignments for wireless broadband
For details on harmonised spectrum assignments consult the European 5G Observatory.
Publications and press documents
- National Broadband Infrastructure Plan for Next Generation Access 'Connected Bulgaria'
- National Development Program Bulgaria 2030
- Digital Transformation of Bulgaria for the period 2020-2030
- Bulgaria - country reports on performances in digitisation: connectivity, digital skills, digital public services and more
- Study on National Broadband Plans
- Guide to High-Speed Broadband Investment
- Broadband Connectivity Reports and Analyses
- Mobile and fixed broadband prices in Europe
- Study on broadband coverage
- National Broadband Infrastructure Plan for Next Generation Access "Connected Bulgaria"
- National Development Program Bulgaria 2030
- Broadband connectivity section, Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications