Internet usage is still mighty expensive in some regions, but all could pale in comparison to what residents in Hungary may soon be paying: the country is set to impose the first-ever tax on Internet usage, and it’s a hefty one. The announcement was made earlier today by the nation’s Minister for National Economy Mihaly Varga, and it has received harsh criticism from both locals and those abroad. Calls for protests have already happened, but as of right now, the measure is set to start in 2015.
Hungary’s government, which is acting particularly flippant toward concerns about its plan, has submitted the draft of a 2015 tax bill to its parliament detailing the tax. Under it, the service providers would be required to pay 150 forints — $0.62 USD — in tax on every gigabyte of data used.
This cost would no doubt be passed on to consumers in the form of drastically increased plan costs, and telecommunications companies are warning that the financial burden could ruin them. The nation’s secretary of state Peter Banai has estimated the tax would generate 20bn forints next year.
Hungarian service provider Magyar Telekom, however, has said the bill could potentially cost the industry 100bn forints, and that it could bring broadband development to a screeching halt. All concerns have been dismissed, however, by the Hungarian government, which has accused concerned parties of “hysteria”.