USPS Ending NetPost Experiment

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The U.S. Postal Service announced its intention to end its three-year experiment with NetPost Mailing Online without renewing it permanently as had been planned.

In a letter to the Postal Rate Commission dated Aug. 29, the postal service's chief ratemaking counsel Daniel Foucheaux said that the USPS would try to transition NetPost to a private operator. The goal of NetPost was to help small and midsized businesses maximize cost savings by commingling mailings, using a network of printers, presorting mailers and entering mail as close as possible to its delivery point.

Mailers would send documents and mailing lists electronically to the USPS, which would then distribute the documents to printers near the delivery point. Its network of service providers handled printing, lettershop and logistics.

Begun in 2000, the USPS planned NetPost as a three-year experiment that would result in the permanent establishment of the service. The postal service's letter to the PRC did not explain why the USPS decided against taking that final step and let the experiment end.

"The postal service learned a great deal during the experiment, although some of the lessons differed from initial aspirations," Foucheaux stated in the letter.

But the USPS considered the experiment a success because the information it gathered will guide its decisions regarding the use of technology, Foucheaux said. Customers entered millions of pieces into the mail stream via NetPost, and the USPS remains confident that using the Internet to encourage the entry of hybrid mail will lead to volume growth, he said.

Revisions to the Domestic Mail Manual as a result of the service's termination and notice of the end of the NetPost experiment will be published in the Federal Register soon, Foucheaux said.

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