This article is more than 1 year old

Pay a tax on every gigabyte you download? Haha, that's too funny. But not to Hungarians

Sssh, don't give anyone any ideas, Hungary

Hungary is threatening to tax its broadband providers for every gigabyte their subscribers use.

The Fidesz-run European nation said that it would charge ISPs 150 forints (around 60 US cents or 39p in the UK) for each gig transferred. Hungary shifted 1,150PB in 2013, and 18PB in mobile data, according to figures from consultancy eNet.

The government said the tax is no different to the levies it collects from telcos for long-distance calls, and there will be an upper limit to the download tithe. But this cap hasn't been set yet.

It's feared the web toll will be passed onto subscribers by the ISPs, although they can offset their corporate income taxes against the data excise.

Upset Hungarians have planned a street protest for Sunday, according to Reuters. More than 100,000 people joined a Facebook group campaigning against the duty.

It is unclear exactly how traffic would be metered and tax collected, but the government believes it will make billions from the ruse.

In the 1990s, the US banned sales taxes on items sold over the internet, a move credited with helping companies such as Amazon steamroller its bricks-and-mortar rivals. The move has since fallen under criticism from store chains, which claim it gives online firms an unfair advantage.

In 2012 a public outcry arose over allegations that the UN was considering a plan to impose taxes on internet access. ®

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