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Bulgaria Table of Contents

Bulgaria

Communications

Throughout the communist period, the state controlled all media. In 1987 Bulgaria had eighty radio and forty-three television transmitters. Two television networks broadcast over nineteen stations in 1991, with 250 low-power repeaters extending coverage to rural areas. The radio system featured three networks with twenty long- and medium-wave stations. Foreign-language programming in Albanian, Arabic, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, and Turkish, was broadcast from short- and medium-wave stations in Vidin, Stolnik, Kostinbrod, and Plovdiv. Bulgaria was a member of the Intervision East European television network, but in 1991 it had not joined the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Intelsat). In 1990 approximately 2 million radio receivers and 2.1 million television sets were in use. Some 2.23 million telephones were in operation in 1987 (see table 14, Appendix).

In 1991 Bulgaria began privatizing its communications sector. The Commission on Communications and Information Science, with the help of West European communications experts, developed a plan for formation of ten independent companies to operate in communications services, the equipment industry, construction, and other related areas. The companies would operate under authority of a state regulatory organization similar to those in Western Europe. This would mean gradually dismantling the national communications monopoly while retaining the unified national telegraph, postal, telephone, radio, and television services. Meanwhile, private companies outside the existing networks were to be encouraged to compete for new customers, and prices were to rise accordingly from the artificially low levels of the command economy period.

Data as of June 1992