Tuesday, January 24, 2006

'Postal Service' defined

Federal Computer Week reports on-line that the U.S. Postal Rate Commission has come up an official definition of "postal service."

The 1970 statute under which USPS operates does not explicitly define the term. A formal rulemaking process to define it was conducted so that complaints against the U.S. Postal Service can resolved.

One of the complaints is from DigiStamp, which alleges that USPS is using its Electronic Postmark service to compete illegally and unfairly against small businesses that offer a similar Internet service for verifying the authenticity of digital documents.

DigiStamp claims that USPS violated its charter by not seeking approval from the commission before offering the postmark service.

The article points out that defining postal services and setting charges for new postal services are significant for USPS because it must find new revenue sources. USPS faces declining income from first-class mail and competition from commercial package mailers.

Meanwhile, its obligations to provide universal delivery keep expanding each year. In 2005 USPS added 2 million addresses to its delivery routes.

According to the commission, "Postal service means the receipt, transmission, or delivery by the Postal Service of correspondence, including, but not limited to, letters, printed matter, and like materials; mailable packages; or other services supportive or ancillary thereto."

USPS may appeal to the federal district court the commission's ruling which asserts the panel's authority to regulate electronic services.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM