E-Bill `to cost pounds 500,000'

THE GOVERNMENT forecast yesterday that the cost to industry of complying with the new e-commerce Bill is only likely to reach pounds 500,000 in the first year.

The main compliance cost will be adhering to a new voluntary statutory approvals scheme for companies that want to offer electronic signature services, which the Bill will give legal recognition to for the first time.

Encryption services that can verify that the electronic signature on a transaction is genuine lie at the heart of e-commerce. According to estimates published yesterday by the Department of Trade and Industry, the cost of the encryption approvals scheme could be between pounds 10,000 and pounds 30,000 for a medium-sized company and pounds 500,000 for industry overall in the first year.