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COMPUTERWORLD | Articles | Market Analysis
05 Mar

NSI: 45% of Bulgarian households had Internet access in 2011


39.8% of the households enjoy broadband access

45% of Bulgarian households had Internet access at home by the end of 2011, which represents a significant growth compared with 2010, show the results of the annual survey on information communication technology (ICT), made by the National Statistical Institute (NSI). Broadband access, which is an important ЕU indicator, was also marked by high growth – 53%, thus ensuring fast and reliable broadband of many more Bulgarian households (see Figure 1).

The regional distribution of households with Internet access indicates the widest usage was in the South-West region, where the capital is located, whose share is 38% of the total number of all connected households in the country. The South Central region was the second most connected one with its 18%. Out of the six planning regions in Bulgaria the North-West was the least-developed in terms of Internet penetration (9%).

However, the survey revealed an overall growth trend in individuals' regular Internet usage (at least once a week), which went up 4.8% year-on-year in 2011.

The poll also showed that young people between 16 and 24 had been the most active web users in the country last year, and 80.0% of them had surfed the web at least once a week.

Another interesting fact from the survey is that people's Internet consumption tends to get lower as they age.

PCs remained the most popular devices to access the Internet in 2011. Households had more than 988,000 desktop computers, or 25% more compared to 2010, while the number of laptops was over 318,000, i. e. 25% more than a year ago. However, there was a decline in the share of PDAs and mobile phones as means to get to the Internet, according to NSI.

The share of the (R)LAN and FTTx connections had grown impressively in 2011, NSI's data revealed. DSL lines were used by more than 198,000 households by the end of 2011, compared to 174,000 in the previous year (see Figure 3).


The progress of the e-government in Bulgaria progresses and the growing number of e-services offered by the public administration and the local governments lead to a 14% increase in citizens' usage of online administrative services and information between 2009 and 2011, NSI said.

Among all administrative e-offerings, what Bulgarians mostly looked for online in 2011 was information on web sites. This accounted for 20.3% of all actions. The share of citizens who filled in forms online in 2011 went up by 4.7% in 2011 over the two previous years.

The share of individuals pointed out that they didn’t have to submit official forms is the largest one (78.1%), and only 0.2% searched but did not find the services they were looking for.

A total of 4.8% of the people polled by NSI noted they were concerned about security and the protection of their personal data online.

Another 3.0% answered they did not have the skills or knowledge to use online administrative services.


NSI's survey for 2011 indicates a gradual increase in the proportion of people who make orders/purchases online, where group shopping web sites have become one the main factors. The people who did online shopping in 2011 were 2.2% more compared to the previous year.

Most Bulgarians purchased items and services online from Bulgarian sellers, but this trend had been gradually getting weaker between 2009 and 2011. Shopping from such e-stores decreased by 10%. These 10% mostly moved away to e-markets from other EU countries that had been becoming more preferred in the 3-year term.

Bulgarian enterprises on the web

The trend of growth in the number of enterprises which have Internet access or create their own web sites to improve their business remained stable. For 2009-2011 the share of firms that had their own web site expanded by 8.7%, and the number of companies that were connected to the Internet went up by 3.0%.

IT and communication technologies were most widely used in large companies with over 250 employees, 99.7% of which had Internet access. However, barely 19.9% of the employees in these enterprises used computers with Internet access, which is due to the structural distribution of employees by economic activities. Large companies gave work to 35% of the total number of employees surveyed , but a considerable share of them (15%) worked in the fields of industry and construction where the Internet was not closely related to their duties.

The ICT sector stood out with the highest proportion of employees whose work was related to using computers. 84.1% of the total number of these people used the Internet in 2011.

People working in the R&D, advertising, legal, architecture and engineering sectors were 59.1% of the total number of polled employees who used computers connected to the Internet.

As the number of available online administrative services had been increasing in 2009-2001, businesses got more interested in them In 2011 there was a 9.9% growth in the proportion of enterprises which used the Internet to obtain information from public authorities. The number of companies downloading forms (tax, accounting, statistics, etc.) increased significantly by 19.5% over the previous year. However, the share of enterprises that used Internet to gain access to bidding documents or specifications within the public electronic tendering system remained relatively low – 9.7% in 2011.

As for e-commerce, businesses saw several reasons to use the Internet for trade: reduce their costs, optimizing staff, significantly extend their reach to customers and suppliers anywhere in the world, avoid intermediaries and increase sales revenues, develop intense marketing communication strategies, etc.

NSI's data about 2011 shows that online purchases and sales in Bulgaria improved and more enterprises used the Internet to improve their businesses and to facilitate their customers and suppliers.

Businesses' purchases via the Internet went up by 3.2% in 2011 compared to a year before, while the growth sales was 2.2%.

Large companies with over 250 employees were the most active players in e-commerce – 20.0% of them made online purchases and 10.7% sold items or services via the Internet.

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