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

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

Interconnection and
Standard Interface
For E-COM, USPS provides interconnection
for message input from qualifying telecom
munication carriers and users (i.e., mailers) us
ing a standard interface. Mailers may estab
lish an account directly with USPS and prepay
USPS for E COM delivery, while arranging
separately with a qualified telecommunication
carrier for transmission of messages to SPOs.
Alternatively, mailers may choose to deal only
with a qualified telecommunication carrier
that acts as an agent for E COM service.
These carriers must establish an account with
USPS and prepay USPS for delivery.
In E COM, USPS is offering both dial up
and dedicated access. As explained by USPS,
"the dial up access facilities will permit
customers to connect to any SPO by means
of any public telephone network, using which
ever telecommunication carriers the customers
choose. . . Dedicated access is designed for
those who wish to have exclusive access to
E COM."'USPS provides two standard inter
faces for dial up access and four standard in
terfaces for dedicated access.'
At the present time, carriers appear to be
reasonably satisfied with these interfaces from
a technical point of view, and USPS has in
dicated a willingness to consider other inter
faces proposed by carriers. However, some car
riers are not happy with the allocation of in
terconnection lines (or ports) at SPOs between
dedicated and dial up access, or with the total
number of lines available. The total number
of lines is limited by the present E-COM tech
nology. The allocation between dedicated and
dial up access is a management decision. Con
gress may wish to review whether technical
modifications could permit more total lines
(and at what cost), as well as alternative alloca
tion schemes.
"Telecommunication Connection, " op. cit., p. 50875.
"Ibid., p. 50879.
'Ibid.

Transmission Facilities
USPS has not proposed, nor have the Board
of Governors or PRC considered, any EMS
service whereby USPS would own transmis
sion facilities. USPS originally proposed to
contract for the use of transmission facilities,
as noted above. Given the wide range of pri
vately offered transmission services and the
rapid change in that industry, it seems unlike
ly, even in the case of demonstrated need to
provide the telecommunication portion of
EMS, that USPS would buy rather than lease
or contract for telecommunication transmis
sion lines.
Marketing of EMS Services
Historically, USPS has been granted the au
thority (under applicable law and regulation)
to market services filed and approved under
the Domestic Mail Classification Schedule.
While some private firms have objected to
USPS marketing of EMS service, E COM in
its current form is considered to be a subclass
of first class mail under the Domestic Mail
Classification Schedule. Accordingly, USPS
has already initiated marketing efforts to iden
tify customers for E COM.'Even if USPS
were authorized to provide telecommunica
tions, such EMS service would most likely be
filed and approved as one or more subclasses
of first class mail (and other classes of mail
where electronic transmission may be ap
propriate), and thus could be marketed by
USPS.
However, the question of how aggressively
the participating telecommunication carriers
would market their portion of E-COM, or any
other USPS EMS service where the identity
of individual firms is not retained, is an open
one. Some firms have proposed the use of en
velopes (and possibly paper) with the company
logo, rather than or in addition to the stand
ardized E COM envelopes. By maintainingg the
individual identity of participating carriers,
these firms would, in theory, have greater in
centive to develop the Generation II market.
'usps News Release No. 53, Oct. 19,1981, p. 3.

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 2, 2014.