Bulgaria or Elbonia?

2008

The other day I was chatting with a friend in France who told me how France has changed in the last couple of years. He specifically mentioned how the home computer had taken hold in a country that had once viewed them as a luxury that the majority could ill-afford. But now he said that that just like the U.S, most middle-class households have several.

All of which brings me to somewhere we don't often talk about, namely Bulgaria. Because according to an article I stumbled on from the Sofia Echo (never let it be said I don't go out of my way to find stories for this Blog!), take-up of PC ownership has yet to take off in Bulgaria.

As it turns out, Bulgaria has the lowest number of computers in the workplace out of all EU countries. And it's a safe assumption that the number of PCs in homes isn't much more impressive.

In fact the Bitkom company recently did a study on the number of computers in the European Union for 2007. Bulgaria was at the bottom of the list with 20% of the population uses computers. This was a far cry from Finland, which was at 71% (which also seemed low to me).

But c'mon – 20%! Computers are an essential item in the modern workplace. To that end, it's shocking and unacceptable that such a common workplace tool in most of the developed world is still inaccessible to business in a member state of the EU.

If the folks in Brussels want to see increased productivity in even the non-economic powerhouses, then it looks like more attention is needed in areas such as this. A 20% computer rate is simply abysmal and while it is not directly related to a country's economy, it's hard to image Bulgaria improving in the near future when it's about as advanced a Dilbert's Elbonia.

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Older Comments

The statistics that all your conclusions are based on is nothing but questionable. Sofia Echo claim to have taken it from DW. I could not find any report on the subject on any EU website. In all the companies I know people use computers. In the public sector there are even more than they need. Of course in some cases the clerks have to leave a paper trail, so they can't escape the red tape.

Also, from personal experience I can say, that the internet connection in Bulgaria are faster that those in Germany. Most people get a cable or lan connection. The cable connection I've got at my home is as fast as the DSL in my apartment in Germany. Yet it is 8 time cheaper. In Sofia many people have lan connection with the ISPs. That means 11Mb at 8 euro a month.

Fact is that many of the advances in Bulgaria are undocumented, because here we accept them as natural. We are very negative with regard to what we do, so a few people know about it. In that 'statistics' for example, the germans would count a smartphone as a workplace computer, if they could.

Boyan Yurukov http://yurukov.net/blog

There’s no relevant statistics covering the amount of computers in Bulgaria. However I can give you few numbers from some projects in Bulgaria. Bulgarian schools network ' 35,000 computers. Keep in mind that Bulgaria population is close to 7,3M people. Apart from that the licenses sold by Microsoft for the last couple of years for the government (I don’t think they include the 35K school PCs) exceed 60,000. Now, most of the people in Bulgaria live in the cities ' just the top 4 cities in BG (Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas) are ~4,5-5M people. If you examine the amount of computers in the cities it will be one thing, but if you put the rural areas the figures might look slightly different. Do you have statistics for the rural areas in US?

Martin Iozev

Please, check your facts before making insulting and just plain wrong assumptions! Here's a MORE relevant, truly RELIABLE statistic with verifiable source - according to Eurostat's website the share of enterprises (10 employed persons or more) in Bulgaria with a broadband Internet connections is 61%.

Ilian Stamenov