Implications of Electronic Mail and Message Systems for the U.S. Postal Service

ficulty of regulating USPS ratesetting and preventing the potential cross
subsidization of E COM from conventional mail revenues. One proposed
response to that concern would be to require a separate USPS entity for
any EMS offering.
* E COM Privacy and Security. The involvement of USPS in E COM has
pointed out the need for additional security measures to protect the privacy
of EMS messages. The Postal and/or Communications Act may need to
be amended to provide additional statutory privacy protection.
* Role in Telecommunication and/or Generation III EMS. The USPS role
in E-COM does not involve either telecommunication or electronic delivery.
Whether there are conditions that would constitute demonstrated need for
USPS to contract with a telecommunication carrier to transmit messages
electronically on behalf of USPS needs to be clarified. Further study seems
warranted on the possible use of EMS Generation III (as well as Genera
tion II) to help USPS maintain adequate service levels to rural and less
populated areas and to low volume, nonprofit, and educational mailers
(E COM is currently designed for high volume business mailers.)
* Increased Cooperation with the Private Sector. At present, it is difficult
for USPS to conduct effective long range planning and market testing of
EMS, since this requires good working relationships with private telecom
munication and computer firms. If some clearer consensus can be reached
on the direction and limits of USPS involvement in EMS, perhaps a more
constructive relationship with the private sector can develop.
OTA's analysis suggests that advances in technology and increased compe
tition in the communications marketplace will significantly affect USPS finances,
service levels, and labor force requirements over the next two decades. It further
suggests that modification or clarification of the USPS role in EMS can, in turn,
help determine how effectively USPS accommodates to these changes. Given the
difficulty of modifying institutions as large and complex as USPS and the laws
and regulations that govern USPS actions, it would seem prudent for Congress
and USPS to address these issues aggressively. Changes are taking place so fast
in the so called "communications revolution" that by the time USPS actually ex
perienced significant reductions in conventional mail volume, most opportunities
for participation in EMS would have passed and it would be much more difficult
to adjust.

United States. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment. Implications of Electronic Mail and Message Systems for the U.S. Postal Service. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc39480/. Accessed August 23, 2014.