(There are many more local providers, but these are the biggest ones that operate nationally.)
Fiber-optic cable connecting and ADSL connections are the most popular choices for Bulgarians when it comes to Internet access. Since it is usually combined with other types of service (land line, cable or digital television), there can be additional monthly fees, but they would rarely be over 50-60 levs (25-35 euros) per month for a private client. The prices of ADSL and fibre-optic cable connections differ slightly, starting at approximately 12-15 levs (6.5-8 euros) for a 12-15Mbps connection and not exceeding 60 levs (30-35 euros) for a 100Mbps connection.
It is becoming rather usual for installation to be free of charge. Also, a customer may be given a free Wi-Fi router if they agree to sign a contract for a certain period (usually 1 or 2 years).
In most big cities the number of Wi-Fi hotspots is growing and it is cheaper and more convenient to go to an Internet club/cafe rather than to use a pre-paid dial-up card (which can also be hard to find, since there is very little demand for it).
Connecting to the Internet from a mobile phone is becoming more popular, although it is still rather expensive and slow. If you have cable TV you can also obtain Internet access via the cable TV connection. Fibre-optic cable connections are offered at prices slightly cheaper than those of the ADSL connection.
There are three types of broadband connection available:
- an asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL)
- an integrated services digital network (ISDN) line
- mobile broadband connection
The advantages of ADSL include much faster speeds than a dial-up Internet connection, the ability to use your phone while on the internet and a much simpler installation process than ISDN (ADSL only requires you to plug an ADSL adaptor into a phone socket, while ISDN requires an engineer to install new plugs).
ISDN is used mostly by businesses that need their own (internal) network and can become quite expensive for private customers, especially when Bulgarian telecommunication companies now offer affordable prices for a good Wi-Fi connection. Even though Bulgaria took one of the last places in the EU for mobile broadband usage in 2011, this market seems to be rapidly growing, since mobile broadband use has doubled since 2010.
High speed Internet connection via satellite is also available but it is quite expensive with monthly charges ranging between 22 and 90 euros and over 500 euros in equipment, installation and activation fees.
Telecommunications standards in Bulgaria are the same as those in the EU, so if your modem works in Europe or has a ‘CE’ mark it should work in Bulgaria. If you have an ISDN line and want your computer to connect to the Internet at the maximum possible speed, you will need an ISDN terminal adapter.