Internet access charges could go up when new regulations on data retention come into effect, according to the Internet Service Providers Association.

Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan has published proposals for new rules that will force providers to keep a record of communications conducted on their networks.

As part of the implementation of Europe-wide Retention of Data Regulations, Mr Lenihan has published the draft of a Statutory Instrument.

He is proposing to introduce regulations to log information about emails, internet access and voice communications over the web.

The actual content of the communications does not have to be recorded by Internet Service Providers, but they will have to keep data for a 12-month period about the how the connection was generated.

That would include things like the name and address of the customer, their IP address and the length of time they were logged on for.

Gardaí will be able to access the data when investigating a 'serious offence', one that could lead to a maximum sentence of six months if convicted.

When these plans were first mooted a few years back, ISPs raised objections but now they accept that they have to obey the new laws.

The Internet Service Providers Association says it will work with the Department of Justice on agreeing a timescale for the implementation of the new rules.

But ISPA General Manager Paul Durant says it will be a complex process with a number of legal and technical issues to be addressed.

He says his members are concerned about the possible cost implications of the regulations.

At the moment, providers have no requirement to gather the data covered under these proposals.

They will have to put new procedures and software in place to enable them to monitor and store the information and Mr Durant says the Government has ruled out a cost recovery agreement, where it would assist in financing this.

He says that if a lot of requests for data are forthcoming the associated extra costs will have to be borne by consumers.