Thousands of people protested in Budapest on Sunday against introduction of a tax on the Internet and data transfer planned by the government.
Last Tuesday the economy minister Mihály Varga announced that the Internet providers will pay a tax on the transfer of Internet of their clients in the amount of HUF 150 (EUR 0.5) per each gigabyte. This means that the Hungarians can pay up to twice higher bills for Internet.
In protest, thousands of Hungarians gathered on Sunday evening at the building of the Ministry Of Economy and the building of the ruling party Fidesh. The demonstrators raised up smartphones and launched them at the same time.
The protesters have gathered together on Facebook, where they founded the group “Against internet tax”. Since Tuesday it has been liked by 191 thousand of Internet users. They argue that the planned action will limit the fundamental rights and democratic freedoms. The organizers of the protest gave the government 48 hours to withdraw from these plans. If this does not happen, on Tuesday they will start another protest.
The government wants to tax data transfer on the network next year. The plan assumes that the internet providers will pay EUR 0.49 for each gigabyte of data, which according to estimates by the Ministry of Economy will raise the budget with additional HUF 20 billion per year. Viktor Orbán’s government’s plans are criticized by the internet providers, the opposition, Internet users, trade unions and the European Commission. In their opinion it is a bad idea by which internet rates will rise. It will also impact negatively on the economy, because the Hungarians now use the Internet less than the EU average.