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Hungary to tax users for Internet usage

Internet tax in HungaryHungary is a special nation. It is known for the 56′ revolution, but nowadays it seems as if the nation rather turns towards Russia again, instead of turning their back to Russia. One example is the Internet tax suggestion made by the ruling party of Hungary, Fidesz.

Like any other nations around the world, people have to their ISP for an Internet package. These prices are like elsewhere in the world, so nothing special with that. What is new however is that the government has now suggeste a so-called Internet tax, where the end-user in addition to the monthly fees will have to pay an extra tax per gigabyte of bandwidth used. The suggested fee so far is 150 HUF per gigbyte, something that is about 0,5 Euro or 0,7 USD. That might not seem so much, but considering the fact that in the nation a worker in McDonalds earn between 1,5-2 Euro per hour after working in McDonalds, that can become quite a lot.

Many people say that this is a way of the government to stop people from actually using the Internet. Because if such a fee will be introduced, then most users will in fact stop doing whatever they want to online, and instead they will only do what they have to do online, instead of what they want to. Here are just some examples of the amount of bandwidth people use, and that can illustrate how much such a tax in fact can hurt Hungarians, if the government decide to vote it through (which is easy, because the governmental party has 2/3 of the members in the Parliament).

Examples of Internet Usage:

60min of YouTube usage: 450 MB
60min of Facebook: 50 MB
1 episode of House of Cards on Netflix (55mins): appx 5000 MB

Since Netflix is unavailable in Hungary, this is measured considering that someone is using a VPN to watch Netflix from abroad (and if such a law will be introduced, it for sure means that Netflix will not even come to Hungary). So, let us say that someone enjoys such activity as mentioned above on 20 days in a month. That would make a total of 1450MB per day, which can be multiplied with 20 which makes up a price of 110GB, which then would cost 16500 HUF extra a month, about 55 Euro extra, just in taxes. That is a whole lot!

Lots of people in Hungary react to this suggestion and claim that it is an attack to their freedom. It truly is, and even though the government has promised to “cap” the amount of money private users will have to pay (700 HUF), this is still an attack on the liberty of using the Internet as users want to. This will of course also make restaurants, cafes and stores consider whether they can offer free WiFi or not, and Internet cafes will for sure turn more expensive.

A VPN can be a solution to a lot of things, but in this matter it will not. ISPs will still be able to measure the amount of bandwidth users use, but with a VPN you can at least hide your activity, so that neither your ISP nor your government can see what you are using those bandwidths for.

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