Implications of Electronic Mail and Message Systems for the U.S. Postal Service Page: 78
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78 .Implications of Electronic Mail and Message Systems for the U.S. Postal Service
none of the major domestic Generation III
EMS providers (such as Tymnet, GTE Tele
net, or Satellite Business Systems) indicated
a desire for dedicated access to E COM facil
ities. Whether this is because of continuing
uncertainty over E COM rates and service
and/or because they perceive E-COM as irrele
vant to, or as a competitive threat to, their
own marketing and product development
plans is not known.
The firms that did respond are primarily
those providing international EMS service
(such as ITT World Communications and
Western Union International) seeking to ex
pand into the domestic EMS market; those al
ready providing a domestic EMS service (such
as Dialcom, Inc., and Graphnet, Inc.) who pre
sumably see E COM as a way to increase or
at least maintain their own shares of the
domestic market; or those with telecommuni
cation expertise who wish to enter anew mar
ket (such as TRT Telecommunications Corp.).
TRT officials see E COM "as a unique oppor
tunity to participate in a new venture which
has a very large market.""
Of the firms who actively opposed USPS in
volvement in EMS, Graphnet is the only one
(as of December 1981) that has indicated an
interest in dedicated access to E COM. Of
course, other firms will be able to gain access
on a dial up basis. One major firm with dial
up access, Western Union, has recently made
application for dedicated access. Various local
telephone companies have apparently ex
pressed an interest, although AT&T has not.
Even firms that are primarily in the Genera
tion III business could supplement their serv-
ice through dial up access to the Generation
II E COM.*
"Richard Yalen, TRT Telecommunications Vice President,
as quoted in Michael Selz, "Electronic Mail Service Promises
2 Day Delivery, " The Tampa Tribune, Dec. 10, 198 u, 6.
* Fexample, Satellite Business Systems, Tymnet, i ani
AT&T among others, already offer or have plans to develop na
tionwide networks with Generation III electronic mail capabil
Innovation and Standards
Some private firms have expressed concern
that the entry of USPS into the EMS market
might stifle innovation and possibly lead
toward adoption of technically inferior stand
ards in the telecommunication industry. While
these concerns were justified to some extent
with respect to the original USPS proposal for
E COM, the protracted regulatory proceed
ings before PRC and FCC have had the effect
of significantly upgrading the E-COM technol
ogy. In essence, the regulatory process in this
case had the effect of mandating improvement
in the E COM design.
The final USPS provisions for interconnec
tion between telecommunication providers and
E-COM facilities at the 25 serving post offices
(SPOs) appear to be substantially responsive
to comments received from private firms. 'g
USPS is providing four different interconnec
tion arrangements for those firms desiring
dedicated access to E-COM facilities, and two
different arrangements for dial up access at
each SPO. The interconnection arrangements
are summarized in appendix D. The dedicated
access interconnection arrangements appear
to meet the technical needs of most firms that
provided comments to USPS. In addition,
USPS has stated that it "will consider pro
viding additional arrangements as necessary
and feasible" and "will consider requests to
accommodate user provided interface circuit
boards."20The dial up access arrangements
will permit dial up access via any public tele
The E COM interconnection arrangements
use technical standards that are currently ac
cepted in the industry. Thus, it appears that
while USPS cannot realistically be expected
to be a source of new standards, it is not like
See USPS, "Telecommunications Connection Arran ements
for Postal service Electronic Computer Orginated Mail ( COM)
Service and Invitation for Capacity Planning Cooperation,
Federal Register,vol. 46, No. 199, Thursday, Oct. 15, 1981.
*"Ibid., p. 50879.
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United States. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment. Implications of Electronic Mail and Message Systems for the U.S. Postal Service, report, August 1982; [Washington D.C.]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc39480/m1/84/?rotate=90: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.