Bulgarian state-owned gas supply utility Bulgargaz is to set up a new wholly owned telecoms subsidiary, Bulgartel, to operate its fibre-optic network. According to Bulgargaz executive director Kiril Gegov, the gas company will register the new operation in the Sofia City Court next week. Bulgargaz, which was licensed to provide data transfer services last year, has built a 680km, 24 channel, optical fibre network reaching the borders with Romania, Greece and Turkey. Only two of the channels will be used by the parent company, and Bulgartel will lease spare capacity to other carriers. Local sources report that Bulgarian telecom operators Neterra and Orbitel and cable operator CabelTEL are in talks to lease lines from Bulgargaz, while other deals being lined up are thought to involve gas distributor Overgas and the Hungarian-Dutch venture, PanTel.