The U.S. government is requiring broadband and VoIP providers to pay the costs of providing monitoring access to law-enforcement agencies.
The Federal Communications Commission voted Wednesday to require providers to comply with wiretap access requirements by May 14, 2007, and to pick up the tab for any accompanying expenses.
"Today's order provides further clarity to carriers and other new technology service providers regarding the implementation of their law enforcement obligations," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a written statement.
The order was meant to ensure that law enforcement and homeland security agencies "have all the resources" authorized under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act in regards to Internet communications, which now include Voice over Internet Protocol telephone.
Some broadband providers bristled at the idea of having to foot the bill for eavesdropping, which some media reports said could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: Scientists twist radio beams to send data: Transmissions reach speeds of 32 gigabits per second