aiahrp on Sun, 2 Jun 2002 04:57:24 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Hungarians Protest as Internet Prices Skyrocket

2600 Magazine, 1 Jun 2002 10:13:48 UTC

As the Hungarian telephone company <underline>Matav
<<></underline> prepares to raise
Internet access rates, <underline>a group of concerned Internet users
<<></underline> is protesting. This group considers
Matav's actions to be monopolistic and detrimental to the growth of the
Internet in Hungary =97 where Internet access is already more expensive
than almost anywhere else in the world.

Matav previously charged no more than HUF 150 (about US$0.58) per local
telephone call between the hours of 6pm and 6am, and offered a
"Mindenkinek" package allowing unlimited calls at night for HUF 4000
(US$15.45) per month.  However, effective July 1, these plans will no
longer be offered, and all off-peak calls will cost HUF 4.50 (US$0.02) per

Approximately 1200 concerned citizens <underline>held a demonstration
<<></underline> last Tuesday to
protest the changes. A related rally was able to block similar changes
last year; however, organizers fear that they will not be as successful in
Hungary's newly deregulated telecommunications market. Matav claims that
it is no longer able to afford to offer the discount rate plans, but
organizers dispute this and point out that Mat=E1v (which is owned by
Deutsche Telekom) is currently making <underline>a profit
ncial/021negyed.html></underline> of some HUF 20 billion (US$77 million)
per quarter.

What is happening in Hungary seems to be similar to what happened last
year with California's energy prices: large corporations are taking
advantage of newly deregulated markets to increase their profits at
consumers' expense.  The power and utility of the Internet are growing =97
despite the low rate of Internet usage in Hungary, there has already been
<underline>at least one <<
html></underline> successful boycott coordinated over the Internet. It is
truly unfortunate, then, that Matav will be making the Internet even less
accessible to its customers.

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