Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Postal Service Faces Major Change in Digital Age

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Postal Service Faces Major Change in Digital Age

Article excerpt

Postmaster says alliance could be in the cards for USPS and projects technology will make its monopoly irrelevant

POSTMASTER GENERAL MARVIN T. Runyon deflects criticisms about the U.S. Postal Service spending on advertising, supports campaigns for direct mail and holds open the possibility that the agency could partner with an Internet provider. He also says the USPS is working to improve timely delivery of periodical-class mail, although he gives no specifics.

Runyon spoke recently in Washington at the National Press Club about the Postal Service of the future. He states that today's Postal Service needs to maintain its monopoly on first-class mail in order to support its national delivery network.

MONOPOLY VS. TECHNOLOGY

But, he says, "By the year 2020, there will be so many ways to communicate, advertise and ship merchandise, the monopoly will simply be irrelevant.' That year will be the 50th anniversary of the Postal Service as an independent agency.

Runyon notes that bills, payments and statements contribute one-third of the Postal Service's revenues and half of its volume. But the Postal Service will have to adapt as the growth of electronic commerce and telecommunications shrinks those proportions. "Research tells us that within the next 10 years, the infrastructure, security and public acceptance issues that now limit electronic diversion will be solved," he said.

Of postal reform legislation proposed by Sen. John McHugh, R-N.Y, Runyon states, "It doesn't reinvent government as much as it it-regulates it. …

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