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

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

4. the current E COM role or variations of
it (e.g., the use of logo envelopes to retain
carrier and mailer identities);
5. involvement in the telecommunication
portion of EMS as well as printing, envel
oping, and delivery; and
6. involvement in Generation III EMS as
well (e.g., through lease or contract with
private industry).
Each of these alternatives is technically
feasible. In evaluating each, Congress may
wish to take into account some or all of the
following broad considerations:
* the extent to which each alternative
would contribute to Generation II EMS
growth and volume;
* the extent to which each alternative
would favorably affect USPS finances,
i.e., EMS cost displacement and contribu
tion to covering USPS fixed costs;
* the extent to which each alternative,
through creating new jobs and increasing
USPS mail volumes, would defer or par
tially offset labor reductions that might
otherwise be necessary;
* the extent to which each alternative
would provide incentives for marketing
by USPS and/or private firms;
* whether changes in the Postal Reorgani
zation Act are needed to permit more flex
ibility in the USPS decisionmaking proc
ess (including regulatory review) with re
spect to USPS involvement in EMS;
* whether the term "demonstrated need"
for USPS to contract with a telecommu
nication carrier to transmit messages elec
tronically on behalf of USPS needs to be
clarified; and
* whether or not there are any conditions
that would constitute demonstrated need
for USPS involvement in electronic deliv
eiry (presumably by contract with private
Generation III EMS firms); for example,
in geographic areas where conventional
mail service could no longer be main
tained at present levels.
With regard to E-COM itself, Congress may
wish to review the following specific issues:

* whether or not space should be provided
in SPOs for carrier output equipment;
* whether or not the technology selected by
RCA for E COM is the best available;
* whether technical modifications to the
current E-COM interconnection arrange
ment could permit more total lines (and
at what cost) for carrier and user access,
and whether alternative access allocation
schemes should be considered; and
* whether E COM performance standards
and design should be modified to guaran
tee 1 day delivery.
Reduce or Eliminate Further
Regulatory and Judicial Delay
The most important action Congress can
take to reduce delay is to provide clear direc
tion for USPS involvement in EMS. A note
of caution is in order. If the direction set out
is not well understood and does not reflect a
substantial consensus, further regulatory dis
putes and litigation could result.
Additionally, Congress could:
* clarify the applicability of the Private Ex
press Statutes to delivery of Generation
II EMS hardcopy output;
* delineate the division of regulatory juris
diction between the Postal Rate Commis
sion and the Federal Communications
Commission; and
* decide on the desirability of a separate
USPS entity for any EMS offering.
Strengthen Privacy and
Security Protection
Privacy protection in a USPS EMS service
is a continuing issue. Preliminary discussions
with USPS indicate that while the E COM
equipment is apparently physically secure, the
potential for security breaches does exist. User
account numbers are visible on the outside of
E-COM envelopes. When combined with an ac
cess code and familiarization with the E-COM
technical interconnection standards, this in
formation would permit unauthorized use of

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 October 21, 2014.