Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Bulgaria

Article
Find here the most recent analysis and data by country. A selection of key documents and graphs are shown about topics such as broadband, internet activity and skills, egovernment, ICT in schools, research and innovation, as well as other main indicators.
Share this

Charts and indicators

Clicking the links below you can visualize various indicators for this country

performance charts | table of indicators  | indicators' evolution over time

Download

 Download the country profile as a pdf (EN) (BG)

 

In DESI 2015, Bulgaria has an overall score[1] of 0.33 and ranks 27th in the DESI rankings. Only 54% of Bulgarian households have a fixed broadband connection (26th in the EU) but an important number of them have a fast connection (44% of fixed Internet subscriptions). Bulgaria needs to address a severe digital skills gap: only 34% of the population have basic digital skills (sending emails, using editing tools, installing new devices, etc), and ICT specialists represent only 1.7% of the workforce. Only 54% of Bulgarians use the Internet on a regular basis, but those who do engage in a broad range of online activities. They communicate via voice or video calls (82%) and participate in social networks. In these two activities engagement among Bulgarians is among the highest in the EU.

Bulgarian public services can also make better use of digital technologies, the country ranks last in this area.  

Bulgaria falls into the cluster of low‑performance[2] countries, where it performs below average.
 
DESIBulgariaClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015270.330.380.47
DESI 2014270.290.340.44

1. Connectivity

1 ConnectivityBulgariaClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015230.440.450.55
DESI 2014250.380.390.51

 

Connectivity is the DESI 2015 dimension where Bulgaria performs the second best among its dimensions. With an overall Connectivity score of 0.44, the country ranks 23rd among EU countries. However, 7% of Bulgarian households are still not covered by fixed broadband, and close to half of households do not subscribe to fixed broadband.

 

 BulgariaEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
1a1 Fixed BB Coverage
% households
93%
(2013)
 2393%
(2013)
2397%
(2013)
1a2 Fixed BB Take-up
% households
54%
(2014)
 2652%
(2013)
2770%
(2014)
1b1 Mobile BB Take-up
Subscribers per 100 people
58
(2014)
 1743
(2013)
2367
(2014)
1b2 Spectrum
% of the target for spectrum to be harmonised at EU level
38%
(2014)
 2532%
(2013)
2770%
(2014)
1c1 NGA Coverage
% households, out of all households
68%
(2013)
 1868%
(2013)
1862%
(2013)
1c2 Subscriptions to Fast BB
% of subscriptions >= 30Mbps, out of fixed BB subscriptions
44%
(2014)
 739%
(2013)
522%
(2014)
1d1 Fixed BB Price
% individual gross income spent for the cheapest standalone Fixed Broadband subscription (lower values are better)
2.1%
(2014)
 232.1%
(2013)
211.3%
(2014)

 

Bulgaria has two main challenges in Connectivity. First, it needs to improve coverage of fixed broadband networks, which reach 93% of households, below the EU average (97%). Second, it needs to increase the number of broadband subscribers: only 54% of households subscribe to fixed broadband and 58 subscribers per 100 people to mobile broadband, limiting Bulgaria's ability to exploit the benefits of the digital economy.

One of the reasons for the low take-up of broadband in Bulgaria might be the subscription price, since it has one of the most expensive entry-level broadband in the EU (the 5th). An individual seeking to subscribe to a broadband connection[3] must spend on average 2.1% of her gross income, which is more than the overall EU average of 1.3%.

Bulgaria performs better than the EU in coverage of high-speed broadband. Networks capable of providing at least 30 Mbps are available to more than two-thirds (68%) of Bulgarian households (against 62% in the EU). In terms of take-up, 44% of fixed Internet subscriptions are to high-speed connections, although the overall level of take-up remains low (26th in the EU)

2. Human Capital

2 Human CapitalBulgariaClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015270.320.420.54
DESI 2014270.290.380.52

 

With a Human Capital score of 0.32, Bulgaria ranks in the penultimate position among EU countries, although it performs better than in the previous year (0.29).

 

 BulgariaEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
2a1 Internet Users
% individuals (aged 16-74)
54%
(2014)
 2751%
(2013)
2775%
(2014)
2a2 Basic Digital Skills
% individuals (aged 16-74)
34%
(2014)
 2725%
(2012)
2759%
(2014)
2b1 ICT Specialists
% employed individuals
1.7%
(2013)
 231.7%
(2012)
232.8%
(2013)
2b2 STEM Graduates
Graduates in STEM per 1000 individuals (aged 20 to 29)
13
(2012)
 2013
(2012)
2017
(2012)

 

In order to fully develop its digital economy and society, Bulgaria needs to develop the digital skills of its citizens. Bulgaria has the second lowest percentage of regular Internet users in the EU (54%).

Bulgaria needs to address its severe digital skills gap. Digital skills are nowadays needed in every corner of the workforce, and the fact that only 34% of Bulgarians possess basic levels of digital skills can be an important barrier to the country’s economic development. Finally, Bulgaria has one of the lowest shares of ICT specialists[4] in the workforce of all EU countries (1.7%) and only 1.3% of Bulgarians aged 20-29 years old are holding a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree.

3. Use of Internet

3 Use of InternetBulgariaClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015190.40.380.41
DESI 2014210.350.330.39

 

Use of Internet is the DESI 2015 dimension where Bulgaria performs best from all five dimensions. Bulgaria scores 0.4 (up from 0.35 last year) and ranks 19th among EU countries. Bulgarians are intensive users of on-line video calls and social networks. Bulgarians appear to refrain most from using the Internet when they need to make transactions, as Bulgaria lags behind both in online banking and online shopping.

 

 BulgariaEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
3a1 News
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
74%
(2014)
 1671%
(2013)
1667%
(2014)
3a2 Music, Videos and Games
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
57%
(2014)
 757%
(2012)
849%
(2014)
3a3 Video on Demand
% households that have a TV
n.a. -n.a.-39%
(2013)
3a4 IPTV
% households that have a TV
5.3%
(2013)
 205.3%
(2013)
2013%
(2013)
3b1 Video Calls
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
82%
(2014)
 164%
(2013)
237%
(2014)
3b2 Social Networks
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
71%
(2014)
 570%
(2013)
558%
(2014)
3c1 Banking
% individuals who used Internet in the last 3 months (aged 16-74)
8.5%
(2014)
 278.6%
(2013)
2857%
(2014)
3c2 Shopping
% individuals who used Internet in the last year (aged 16-74)
28%
(2014)
 2722%
(2013)
2763%
(2014)

 

Bulgarian Internet users engage in a broad range of online activities. They communicate via voice or video calls (82%) and participate in Social networks. In these two activities engagement among Bulgarians is among the highest in the EU. Bulgarians Internet users also read news online (74%), listen to music, watch films and play games online (57%).

While Bulgarians are keen to engage in the above Internet activities, they are more reluctant to engage in on-line transactions. The shares of Bulgarian Internet users that use online banking (8.5%) or shop online (28%) are among the lowest of all EU countries. This is the key challenge for Bulgaria in terms of Internet use by its citizens, because a digital economy is partly fuelled by its citizens’ consumption in the online channel.

4. Integration of Digital Technology

4 Integration of Digital TechnologyBulgariaClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015240.240.270.33
DESI 2014270.180.230.3

 

In Integration of Digital Technology by businesses, Bulgaria scores 0.24. Bulgaria’s businesses need to better exploit the possibilities offered by on-line commerce and social media.

 

 BulgariaEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
4a1 Electronic Information Sharing
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
28%
(2014)
 1920%
(2013)
2231%
(2014)
4a2 RFID
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
9.5%
(2014)
 11.2%
(2011)
213.8%
(2014)
4a3 Social Media
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
7.3%
(2014)
 2711%
(2013)
2014%
(2014)
4a4 eInvoices
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
8.8%
(2014)
 209.4%
(2013)
1911%
(2014)
4a5 Cloud
% enterprises (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
6.3%
(2014)
 20n.a.-11%
(2014)
4b1 SMEs Selling Online
% SMEs (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
5.5%
(2014)
 274.7%
(2013)
2815%
(2014)
4b2 eCommerce Turnover
% turnover of SMEs (no financial sector, 10-249 employees)
1.4%
(2014)
 281.5%
(2013)
288.8%
(2014)
4b3 Selling Online Cross-border
% SMEs (no financial sector, 10+ employees)
2.1%
(2013)
 282.1%
(2013)
286.5%
(2013)

 

A true digital economy is one where businesses take full advantage of the possibilities and benefits offered by digital technologies, both to improve their efficiency and productivity, as well as to reach costumers and realise sales. To that end, Bulgaria can stake more advantage of digital technologies.

The adoption of digital technologies is an important driver of labour productivity growth and needs to be strengthened. The percentage of businesses using technologies such as electronic information sharing (ERP – 28%), eInvoices (8.8%), social media (7.3%), Cloud services (6.3%) in Bulgaria are among the lowest in the EU.

Bulgarian businesses need also to take advantage of the possibilities offered by on-line commerce. Very few SMEs in Bulgaria sell online (5.5%), even less sell online to other EU member states (2.1%), and those who do sell online make a very small share of their turnover from those sales (1.4%). Without digitisation and exploitation of on-line commerce Bulgarian businesses will have difficulties compete in the global digital economy.

5. Digital Public Services

5 Digital Public ServicesBulgariaClusterEU
rankscorescorescore
DESI 2015280.240.340.47
DESI 2014280.260.330.45

 

Digital Public Services is the dimension where Bulgaria performs the weakest. With a score of 0.24, Bulgaria ranks 28th among EU countries with a mild improvement in score but keeping the same rank as in the previous year.

 

 BulgariaEU
DESI 2015DESI 2014DESI 2015
valuerankvaluerankvalue
5a1 eGovernment Users
% individuals returning filled forms, out of Internet users in the last year (aged 16-74)
13%
(2014)
 2715%
(2013)
2633%
(2014)
5a2 Pre-filled Forms
Score (0 to 100)
19
(2014)
 2322
(2013)
2345
(2014)
5a3 Online Service Completion
Score (0 to 100)
61
(2014)
 2163
(2013)
2175
(2014)
5a4 Open Data
Score (0 to 700)
220
(2014)
 28n.a.-380
(2014)
5b1 Medical Data Exchange
% General Practitioners
8.7%
(2013)
 268.7%
(2013)
2636%
(2013)
5b2 ePrescription
% General Practitioners
4.6%
(2013)
 214.6%
(2013)
2127%
(2013)

 

Modern public services offered online in an efficient manner are a vehicle for reducing public spending as well as for driving efficiency gains for enterprises, citizens and the public administration. Bulgaria's indicator scores[5] place it among the last in the EU and show that the level of sophistication of its services needs to improve and more data need to be made open for public use. Better online public services will also likely improve Bulgaria’s percentage of eGovernment users returning filled-in forms (13% of Internet users, the second lowest in the EU).

The efficiency and degree of service offered by health systems can be greatly improved through digitisation. Bulgaria’s performance in eHealth can be improved, namely by encouraging a greater adoption of medical data exchange (only 8.7% of Bulgarian general practitioners exchange medical data electronically, versus 36% in the EU). In ePrescription only 4.6% of its general practitioners transfer prescriptions to pharmacists electronically.

 

[1] DESI scores range from 0 to 1, the higher the score the better the country performance.

[2] In the DESI 2015, the low-performance cluster of countries comprises Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.

[3] Calculations performed taking into account the price of the least expensive standalone fixed broadband connection offering speeds between 12 Mbps and 30 Mbps.

[4] Broad definition taken from JRC (IPTS) "The evolution of EU ICT employment 2000-2012" Technical report (forthcoming): ISCO codes 25 and 35, plus ICT graduates in certain adjacent ISCO codes.

[5] 19/100 in the Pre-filled Forms indicator (measuring the extent to which data that is already known to the public administration is pre-filled in the forms that are presented to the user), and of 61/100 in the Online Service Completion indicator (measuring the extent to which the various steps in an interaction with the public administration – life event – can be performed completely online).

Figures from 2013

 Download the country profile for 2013 as a pdf

 Download country information for 2013 as a power point presentation

Country:

Last updated on 24/02/2015