We received many questions relating to CALEA compliance charges. In order to provide a better understanding of what CALEA involves and why it exists, we encourage customers to familiarize themselves with the CALEA Wikipedia article and the following explanation of the fee and secondary issues.
Essentially, CALEA is a regulation that requires Internet communications companies to install and maintain specialized equipment and observe special policies in order to comply with law enforcement requests for customer information.
The notice sent to all customers for three months prior to implementing the CALEA Compliance Fee read:
“An additional charge will appear on your Cal.net invoice starting in the month of October – a CALEA Compliance Fee of $2.97/Month. This fee is permanent and will be added to your normal service charges from this point forward. The federal CALEA Act of 1994, amended in 2006 and 2007 by the FCC and further updated in 2010 by the DOJ, requires all Internet and digital voice service providers to provide certain capabilities for law enforcement purposes. To compensate for the continually increasing costs of these federal mandates, Cal.net has established this fee for CALEA cost recovery.”
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Are you just using this as an excuse to bill us more?
A. In order to comply with this Department of Justice regulation, we are forced to utilize a third-party commercial CALEA mediation service which bears a significant recurring cost. We also have to regularly provide increased training and respond to numerous requests for information . This means increased staffing requirements and work-loads. It also results in the need for additional record and audit compliance, and additional legal fees. As such, $2.97 only covers our cost of compliance with these imposed Federal regulations.
Q. Does this mean the government has free access to my information?
A. Absolutely not. Cal.net respects its customers legal right to privacy. Part of our increased cost is in our reluctance to comply. Cal.net believes that privacy is a fundamental right of every American citizen and refuses to release information without the appropriate warrants or court order. This increases our legal costs and the amount of paperwork from information requests. We are happy to continue defending the rights of our fellow citizens, but as a business, cannot afford to lose money to do so.
Q. Shouldn’t the government agency that is requesting the information pay for the cost?
A. In a perfect world, that would be the case. Unfortunately, Cal.net receives no compensation for the expenses it incurs in compliance with this fee. Overregulation is a weight bearing down on all small businesses, and we encourage you to keep this in mind at election time.
Q. I don’t like this fee, should I look for a new Internet company?
A. All communications companies are forced to comply with this regulation and so must charge for this cost in some form or another. Cal.net is direct and honest about what it is and what it is for. We respect all of our customers right to choose a service provider that is right for them. The advantage to Cal.net is a great product at a fair price and we hope that you will choose to stay.