The Internet & the Mail: An Untold Story

The explosion of electronic communication has permanently changed how the world connects, and the Postal Service must adapt to that change. But USPS is not “going bankrupt” just because people are using email and social media.

The vast majority of the red ink over the last few years has resulted from an unnecessary and overly burdensome Congressional mandate to pre-fund retiree healthcare, and much of the decline in mail volumes, especially from business, can be attributed to recession.

America Relies on the Postal Service

The Postal Service is our country’s only universal communication network, binding all four corners of the United States together. USPS delivers almost 168 billion pieces of mail each year to more than 152 million homes, businesses and Post Office boxes throughout the country.

American businesses need the mail.

  • E-commerce is supported by the USPS universal delivery network.
  • Businesses remain dependent on low cost, reliable mail service for their invoicing and shipping.
  • Many Americans still prefer to receive paper statements and to pay their bills by mail.
  • The Postal Service is at the center of a trillion dollar printing, publishing and mailing industry that employs more than seven million private-sector workers.

American citizens need the mail.

In the United States, only the urban and suburban well-off have truly “high-speed” Internet access. Other segments of the population either cannot afford access or use restricted wireless access as their only connection to the web.

  • According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, as recently as 2012, almost fully a fifth of American adults said they do not use the Internet. Learn more >
  • Only 46 percent of adults with annual household incomes below $30,000 in 2012 had broadband at home, compared to 87 percent of households with incomes exceeding $75,000. Learn more >
  • Approximately 54 percent of African-American adults and 51 percent of Hispanic adults reported in 2012 that they had broadband at home, compared to 70 percent of whites. Learn more >
  • Only 39 percent of Americans aged 65+ reported having broadband at home in 2010. Learn more >
  • Rural Americans remain significantly underserved, with only 53 percent of adults living in rural areas reporting they had broadband at home in 2012, 67 percent of adults in urban areas and 70 percent in suburban areas. Learn more >

As an interdependent nation, it is simply not acceptable to leave these citizens behind by dismantling key USPS services and reducing their opportunities for communication, connection and engagement.

The Internet Provides Opportunities for Growth

The Internet offers opportunities as well as challenges. While more people are paying bills online and using email and social media for much of their communication, they are also ordering more goods online. E-commerce offers a tremendous opportunity for the Postal Service to expand its own package delivery service and to capitalize on private carriers’ need to reach American homes and businesses outside their service areas, by contracting out the “last-mile” delivery of their packages to USPS.

Continued growth in e-commerce and the shipping business can provide the Postal Service new areas to expand and develop market share – if provided the tools and freedom to do so.

USPS Can Thrive in a Digital World

Americans rely on the Postal Service. It is our country’s only truly universal communication network, connecting citizens and businesses six days a week. This ubiquity is a key competitive advantage compared to private carriers, which USPS should capitalized on in order to grow. It must not be lost as a result of shortsighted efforts to cut costs, at all costs. The Postal Service can prosper in a digital age by innovating and adapting, as it has done repeatedly over its 230-plus year history.