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32,000 Hungarians plan to take to the streets for 'internet tax' protest

New law proposes taxing every gigabyte in the land

More than 30,000 people have pledged to stage a protest against Hungary's proposed internet tax law in the capital on Sunday.

Viktor Orban's government is planning to tax internet traffic from the beginning of 2015, according to a bill submitted to Hungary's parliament on Tuesday.

The draft law would tax internet service providers around €0.50 for every gigabyte of data traffic over their network. However, users fear this tariff will be passed on to them. A Facebook page set up to organise a protest at József Nádor Tér in Budapest had garnered 32,000 attendees, 5,800 maybes with a further 203,000 invited at the time of writing.

But it's not just the public that is against the plan. Hungary's opposition party said the law would send the country back to the 1990s. Telco companies have condemned the plan, including Deutsche Telekom subsidiary Magyar Telekom – even Steelie Neelie herself has spoken against it.

"Unilateral internet taxes are not a clever idea. It will increase internet access prices for consumers. Hungary is already below the EU average on virtually every digital indicator. This isn't going to help. Shame on them!" said Europe's Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Hungary already has a tax on voice calls and text messages, but the amount is capped at €2.27 a month for individuals and €16.26 for companies. There is no indication yet of the value of any possible caps for the new internet tax. Economy minister Mihaly Varga defended the plan this week, saying it could generate annual revenue of €65m. ®

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