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Protests against proposed internet tax in Hungary

The government of Hungary is reportedly considering a tax on internet traffic, prompting demonstrations in the capital city Budapest.

The proposed plan would see ISPs charged 150 forints (about $0.60) on each gigabyte of data. The firms would however be able to offset their corporate income tax against the fee.

Consumers are evidently opposed to the plans,with thousands of demonstrators descending on the economy ministry, holding phones aloft and throwing projectiles made from pieces of old computers at the gates of the ruling Fidesz party.

A Facebook protest group has managed to accrue over 100,000 members since the proposal was announced. Many members of the public are concerned that the tax will cause a rise in consumer subscription rates for broadband services.

With rally organisers claiming that the move was part of "a wave of alarming anti-democratic measures by [Prime Minister Viktor] Orban that is pushing Hungary even further adrift from Europe", the Fidez party responded by stating that it would amend the proposal to capmonthly payments of the tax to 700 forints.

The economy minister of Hungary has claimed that current telecoms taxation is no longer fit for purpose and must be reformed, adding that the proposed tax could generate up to 20 billion forints ($82.4 million).

However, outgoing EU Digital Commissioner Neelie Kroes has reportedly claimed that the implementation of an internet tax could stall development in a country where internet usage is already below the EU average.

 

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