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Internet and Telephone

Most visitors, and certainly most expats, want both phone and internet connections in their Bulgarian property. Keeping in touch with friends and family back home is important - and in the most cost-effective way.

Internet access is widely available, including wifi; and mobile phones are everywhere to be seen. Quest Bulgaria takes a look at the choices for phone and internet in Bulgaria.

Internet

You can get internet connection anywhere in Bulgaria via various means. Internet usage is fairly low across Bulgaria but is ever increasing. Broadband is becoming more widely available and the cost of access to the internet is low. Outside the larger cities and towns, dial up or wifi is the most usual way to connect.

BTK, the Bulgarian Telecom Operator, provides ADSL and there are numerous other providers who offer fast and even wi-fi connection. Another choice is to use your cable television provider to get a cable internet connection.

It of course all depends upon what speed you require and how many hours a month you spend on the internet as to costs. BTK charge about 15 euros to instal ADSL and approx 10 euros a month for up to 20 hours internet access. A dial up, again with BTK, is around 2 euros and 5 euros for 20 hours connection time.

Connection can be had anywhere in Bulgaria through your mobile phone but you will find this expensive in comparison.

If you already have cable television, you can check with your cable tv company if they can also offer you cable internet. Generally cable internet is a reliable connection and quite fast (although not as speedy as ADSL). It is also lower cost than ADSL - from 12 to 20 euros a month for a decent speed connection.

Wi-fi connections are becoming ever more popular and there are many local suppliers even in the smaller towns and villages. It is worth checking with the locals in your area about this facility. The monthly costs vary but are usually about 10 euros a month for a high speed connnection with unlimited connection time.

For top speed you will naturally need to go for ADSL. Although it is worth knowing that ADSL in Bulgaria is notably slower than other countries due to the backbone. If you opt for ADSL, then BTK has broad coverage across the country. Prices depend upon the usage you require but is on a 12 month contract basis. Costs are fropm 12 euros up to 85 euros a month.

If you are bringing your modem with you, make sure it has a CE mark on it and it should work here. Skype can be quite happily used in Bulgaria with ADSL or with wi-fi.

Telephone

When buying Bulgarian property there is usually a land line installed. However, you will find that you will have to have it connected.

A visit to your local post office will sort this out. Remember to take a copy of your deeds, your passport and residency permit. Strictly speaking you are required to be resident in Bulgaria to obtain a telephone line but, as ever with the country, it depends upon the person behind the counter as to whether they will enforce this or not. If you have a Bulgarian company, then take your Bulstat card and other papers.

BTK are not always quick to connect you, I'm afraid and we have heard of people waiting for over a month to be connected. It can take even longer for installing a land line, particularly if you live in a remote area. A visit to their web site is a good idea if you want to check on getting a line installed www.btc.bg/en

Connection costs are about 12 euros and installation of a new line approx 40 euros.

There is a variety of plans to suit your phone usage. Some offer a number of local calls and international calls at reduced rates. Worth checking out the different packages and select one appropriate to you.

Nearly everyone in Bulgaria has at least one mobile phone and the coverage is excellent. There are currently three suppliers - Globul, MTel and Vivatel. You can opt for a contract or pay as you go, with a multitude of different packages available. Each network has different prices, although they generally all work out at pretty much the same price.

If you are only visiting Bulgaria for a short time, you can simply buy a SIM which you can put in your normal mobile phone and will give you a Bulgarian number. Much cheaper !