Business & Finance
News
1/28/2004
04:18 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Will Feds Pay For Post Office's Funeral Using E-Payments?

Society's upper class is sold on E-payment of bills, putting a big dent in the Postal Service's lucrative first-class mail revenue.

The U.S. Postal Service is at risk as use of E-mail, wireless devices, and the Internet increase, Comptroller General David Walker said Wednesday in prepared testimony before a special House Government Reform Committee panel on postal reform and oversight.

Walker, who heads the General Accounting Office--the investigative arm of Congress--said the nation's communications, technology, and delivery markets have seen vast changes since the Postal Service was reorganized in 1970 as a wholly owned, self-supported government corporation from a cabinet department. "These technological advances appear to have placed first-class mail volume in the early stages of a long-term decline," he said.

Citing a report prepared by the president's Commission on the United States Postal Service, Walker also pointed to growing popularity of electronic payments as another factor in smaller first-class mail volume.

"The rapid diffusion of computer, Internet, and broadband technologies has led to high adoption rates among those with high levels of income and education--the same groups that send and receive a disproportionate share of first-class mail," Walker said. "These trends point to the strong potential for further diversion. Raising postal rates to offset this trend may provide an immediate boost to the service's revenues, but over the longer term will likely accelerate the transition of mailed communications and payments to electronic alternatives, including the Internet."

The Postal Service also faces increased competition from private delivery companies, some of which have established IT-intensive national ground-delivery systems and a national network of retail facilities.

"In this new environment," Walker said, "unless the service's operating expenses can be reduced correspondingly, with a rightsizing of both its infrastructure and workforce, it is questionable whether affordable universal mail service can be sustained over the long term."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.