Science, technology, telecommunications

Bulgaria offers excellent conditions for high-tech and telecommunication industries and services with its strategic location, highly-qualified workforce, macroeconomic stability, growing domestic market and well-educated specialists due to country's traditionally strong educational system, with one of the highest rank of youth mathematicians and informaticians in the world. This is why some multinational companies desired to choose Bulgaria and build their regional offices and headquarters even before Bulgaria joined the EU. By now, most notable is Hewlett-Packard, which built its Global Service Centre for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in Sofia.

Telecommunications is perhaps the fastest growing industry in the country. There are three GSM mobile operators — Globul, Mobiltel and Vivatel — which provide almost 100% coverage. They have hundreds of service centres throughout the country, constantly growing in number and with incredible speed and, also, improving. More than 6,245,000 Bulgarians own mobile cellular phones. Mobikom is the only NMT 450 mobile phone operator. Internet is available in each town and lately in most villages with a fast connectivity and VoIP; DSL connection in bigger cities is offered by BTK. There are around 185,000 Internet hosts.

The country has some precedents for its current science industry. The inventor of the earliest known electronic computer John Atanasoff is of Bulgarian descent. Bulgaria was a major supplier of scientific and research instruments for the Soviet space programmes, was the first European country to develop serial computer production, and has experience in pharmaceutical research and development. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is the leading scientific institution in the country with most of the researchers working for its numerous branches.

There are two major astronomical observatories: the Rozhen Observatory, which is the biggest in South Eastern Europe and the Belogradchik Observatory with three telescopes.

John Atanasoff, of Bulgarian descent, invented the first electronic digital computer.