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E-Commerce

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to tackle the use of unsolicited e-mails. [111286]

There will be new controls on the use of unsolicited commercial e-mail under the UK's implementing regulations for the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive (Directive 2002/58/EC). The new rules, to come into force this year, will require that unsolicited e-mails may only be set for the purposes of direct marketing to individuals with their prior consent, except where there is an existing customer relationship between the sender and the addressee.Consultation on the draft regulations started on 27 March this year and details of the proposed new rules are available in the Libraries of the House and on the DTI's website at

www.dti.gov.uk. Each member state of the European Union is required to implement the directive.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many broadband users there were in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK in each of the last 12 months. [111287]

The data for Scotland are not available. Oftel estimates the approximate number of broadband customers in the UK for each of the last 12 months is:

Date (month ending)Total broadband customers
May 2002641,000
June 2002747,000
July 2002837,000
August 2002909,000
September 20021,020,000
October 20021,135,000
November 20021,264,000
December 20021,382,000
January 20031,524,000
February 20031,664,000
March 20031,818,000
April 20031,915,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the total amount of finance received by business in the UK through e-commerce transactions and sales in each year since 1998. [111296]

Information on e-commerce transactions and sales is published annually in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) e-commerce survey. Figures for 2002 are not yet available; they are due to be published by the ONS in October this year. Prior to 2001 this data was not collected by the ONS. A copy of the ONS e-commerce survey 2001 has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what estimate she has made of the percentage of businesses in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK who have enabled customers to buy online in the last two years; [111307](2) what estimate she has made of the percentage of businesses in

(a) Scotland and (b) the UK which used the internet to sell their products in each year since 1998; [111328]

(3) what estimate she has made of the percentage of businesses in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK which (i) were broadband enabled, (ii) had websites and (iii) had access to the internet in each year since 1998. [111295]

Information of this type is published annually in the DTI's International Benchmarking Study: Business in the Information Age. The Study provides year on year findings from 1997. A copy of the International Benchmarking Study 2002 has been placed in the Libraries of the House.