Bulgaria ranks 50th among 176 countries in the Measuring the Information Society 2017 Report released in November by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – the United Nations’ agency for information and communication technology (ICT). This is the ninth edition of the annual report which presents a quantitative analysis of the information society and highlight new and emerging trends. This year, for the first time, the report includes individual country profiles providing a snapshot of the latest ICT landscape and efforts made by each country to increase the ICT access, use and proficiency of its citizens.
According to the report, Bulgaria has a competitive mobile market with high mobile, cellular and mobile-broadband penetration rates, both exceeding the European average.
The market demonstrates strong technology-based competition and mobile operators are investing in fibre and cable networks. ITU estimates the country as an integral part of the European Digital Market with a number of ambitious goals being set up. As one of the most impactful government policies the report is stating, is the National Broadband Infrastructure Plan for Next Generation Access, which aims to achieve 100% broadband coverage with at least 30 Mbit/s by 2020 and 50% take-up rate for 100 Mbit/s. The strategy also aims to connect remote and less populated areas of Bulgaria by securing EU funds as well as private and state investments.
Currently 21% of the population is still using fixed-telephone subscriptions but the share is constantly decreasing, while 88% out of 100 consumers choose mobile-cellular subscriptions. The percentage of households with computer is 60.2% (Europe’s average – 79.6%; global average – 46.6%) and 63.5% of the households are using Internet (Europe’s average – 82.5%; global average – 51.%).
Bulgaria is considered as an overachieving country despite the lower levels of economic performance together with Estonia, Belarus, Serbia, Ukraine and Moldova, and is listed among the most dynamic countries in Europe region in 2016 and 2017.
With the liberalization of its telecommunication market and the advancements made in the sector, Bulgaria is becoming an increasingly connected country. Bulgaria’s ambitious goals for broadband access and usage underline its ambitions to further this development, states the conclusion in the country profile page for Bulgaria.
Measuring the Information Society Report uses the findings of the ICT Development Index (IDI) to analyze future trends and developments in the digital world. Here are some of the main findings in the 2017 edition:
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the digital footprint. In addition to connecting people, organizations and information resources, it will also connect objects equipped with digital information and with sensing, processing and communication capabilities. This ubiquitous infrastructure will generate abundant data that can be utilized to achieve efficiency gains in the production and distribution of goods and services, and to improve human life in innovative ways.
Big data analytics will extract useful knowledge from this flow of digital information. It will drive better understanding and predictions of ICT developments, as well as improved management and policy decisions. Making sense of proliferating information requires a workforce with appropriate analytical, computational, methodological skills and a high-capacity ICT infrastructure.
Artificial intelligence will aid humans to make better decisions. In order to achieve this goal, each algorithm needs to be tailored carefully to existing data and the objectives pursued. This requires considerable human expertise in machine learning and large datasets to train algorithms.
Advanced ICTs requires appropriate infrastructures, services and skills. Networks will have to support diverse quality-of-service demands from applications and users while delivering robust and ubiquitous connectivity. Moreover, it will require the development of advanced ICT skills among users.
Browse through the International Telecommunication Union website to download the free publication of the report.