Telecommunications is first mentioned in the government's national consultation program, the latest edition of which specifically asks the public about future epidemics like spring and planned measures to be taken during prevention. In addition, the new questionnaire dissects a question feared by service providers: Would subscribers want Internet service to be free for certain subscribers (families with children and teachers) during a severe epidemic?
CountingNews has repeatedly addressed the issue of Hungarian service providers are trying to reduce the burden on subscribers in the situation caused by the spread of COVID-19 infection, and we have also presented how service providers and regulators have tried to deal with the situation overseas. Undoubtedly, the general introduction of payment facilitation in Hungary, covering all service providers, has not yet emerged, according to opinions from professional circles, because the payment morale of domestic subscribers is rather poor in an international context even without such a comprehensive action.
Secretary of State Csaba Dömötör spoke about the questions asked in the new consultation last weekend in his video uploaded to Facebook, according to whom the question may have been included in the current consultation questionnaire because of the Internet
There is no doubt that the Internet is a problem for families who have lost part of their income due to the epidemic, but the consultation material does not indicate whether the financial situation of the family is taken into account or free of charge for all concerned. According to our service provider sources, the implementation of the latter is otherwise practically impossible, as an ISP has no idea whether children live in a given household or what their profession is for adult workers, nor is it clear what a state-maintained database could help to decide.  It is also unclear whether the government intends to make wired internet services free of charge, or mobile internet – the latter could even collapse due to tight resource constraints if too many people relieve too much of it at once.
According to information from service providers, the government did not initiate any preliminary negotiations with the parties during the compilation of the national consultation questionnaire, and Dömötör’s weekend announcement accordingly hit the profession like a real cold shower. However, it is unlikely that the government would back down and reject the possibility of a free net in the event of an epidemic after consultation, but the form in which this will be provided by service providers is at least questionable for now.
The most likely scenario may be that our information
Gellert is Technology Editor at Counting News Media and contributor at other major tech publications. Her interests includes testing new gadgets and reading.