Broadband Abroad: Internet Connectivity Outside of the United States

Bulgaria, Ukraine

Bulgaria

The southern European country of Bulgaria uses some of the same connection methods as countries in other parts of the continent, according to Evelin Stoev, editor in chief of PC World Bulgaria. "In Bulgaria, the most common Internet connection type is LAN--small providers that operate in small city areas," she says; these operators have roughly 40 percent of the market. Cable Internet accounts for 30 percent of connections; DSL, 20 percent; and dial-up, 10 percent. "Cable TV suppliers' share is rising, because recently they've started to offer so-called three-in-one service--Internet, cable TV, and IP telephony at a very low price," Stoev explains.

But service speed is slower--between 256 kbps and 512 kbps, she adds, though speeds to Bulgarian sites is 2 mbps. "The price for 384 kbps and unlimited traffic is about $15 per month, no matter what of the connection type," she says.

Ukraine

LAN connections are also common in Ukraine--for example, an apartment house will be connected to the Internet and then Internet access is distributed to residents via ethernet. Elena Polonskaya, editor of PC World Ukraine, says that DSL is available elsewhere, with speeds of up to 8 mbps download/1 mbps upload, as is cable, with 2 mbps downloads.

But rather than charging solely by the speed of the connection, many providers vary their charges based on traffic--how many megabytes used per month. A LAN connection with a 2GB limit on non-Ukrainian traffic and unlimited in-country traffic costs 240 Ukrainian hryvnia (about $47) from one provider. An 8-mbps download/1-mbps DSL connection costs 100 UAH ($20) with a 500MB cap, or 500 UAH ($100) with a 3GB cap. Alternatively, Ukrainians can choose unlimited but slower connections: A 256-kbps download/256-kbps upload connection with no cap, for example, costs 959 UAH ($190) per month.

Polonskaya says half of the population is still on dial-up--some at 56 kbps, but most modem users get online at 33.6 kbps.

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