According to Ookla’s Net Index Explorer, Bulgaria ranks 20 in the world in terms of Internet speeds as of 2015, with an average broadband internet speed of 33.5 Mbps and an average upload speed of 22.8 Mbps. Subscription fees for a 12-15 Mbps connection usually amount to approximately 12-15 BGN ($8-10) per month.
Over 60% of Bulgarian consumers use LANs for their inherent good speeds and overall reliability. ADSLs were introduced locally only in 2004, after the privatization of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company. With a few exceptions, ISPs offer fiber optic access, supporting a wide array of services, including IPTV, VoIP, and VOD (Video on demand).
Due to the fact that there are around 15 ISPs that have to constantly compete against each other, prices have gone rock-bottom in recent years. Local market analysis’s assert that the ISP sector tends to gradually consolidate, but not as much so that it produces considerable price fluctuations that would affect end users in any way.
The Internet industry in Bulgaria has only been relatively recently privatized, after the state monopoly Bulgarian Telecommunications Company was acquired in 2004. As of 2006, all the main cities, along with nearly 140 towns and villages around the country, benefit from cheap Internet services. As of early 2016, 58.5% of the 7-million Bulgarian population is connected to the Internet, which is quite low a percentage. However, each year sees an additional percent added to the Internet user pool, which is good news.
Being part of the European Union since 2007, Bulgaria is pretty much forced to adopt a liberal position towards the Internet. The law guarantees freedom of speech and press, and the government ensures that these rights are respected by all people equally. Additionally, while the United States strictly enforces the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Bulgaria does not currently have any proper legislation set in place to prevent online copyright infringement and/or punish copyright infringers. Given the current state of the country, it is highly unlikely that laws will be passed to this effect, so from this vantage point, Bulgaria may be considered as an offshore hosting destination.
As with most of the Eastern Europe, Bulgaria faces a lot of economic and social issues, including poverty and corruption. Things have slightly improved in the last few years, but the situation has yet to take a considerable turn for the better. The minimum salary in Bulgaria does not usually exceed $250 per month, which is another disfavorable factor. In order to keep their existing customers and attract new ones, Bulgarian ISPs have to automatically keep their fees at a minimum.