The delivery of “snail mail” by way of the United States Postal Service (USPS (News - Alert)) has been an issue of much debate since the Internet took off over a decade ago and began changing the way we communicate. However, after news of significant layoffs and location closings were announced last week, the future of the USPS and questions as to whether the post office has lost its usefulness have become the center of inquiry across media outlets around the country.
The most recent cuts include 28,000 workers, 250 processing centers, 2,000 post offices and the possibility of doing away with Saturday mail delivery, accepting slower first class service as a consequence.
With a number of USPS strikes and walkouts over the past 50 years, past protests left citizens and businesses crying out for help to the government to implement changes to ensure mailmen were back to work delivering the mail. However, the latest USPS strike, which occurred this past summer in June 2011, created a much different response that left many realizing just how much our dependence on the delivery of mail has changed. The standstill of mail delivery strikes that once caused a devastating aftermath for businesses that were forced to come to a halt was barely noticed by some this past strike.
For many who take advantage of electronic billing and email correspondence to keep in touch with colleagues and loved ones, the issue of the USPS mail delivery may not be as crippling, but, believe it or not, there are a number of Americans who have yet to adopt the latest technologies that allow them to send and receive mail with the simple click of a mouse. Consider elderly people who have a particular attachment to the post office since they are less likely to adapt to transition to email. Think of the last time your grandma sent you a Christmas card via the Internet.
But aside from the question of whether these recent cuts will indefinitely cause mail delivery to slow down, the focus should instead be on what negative effects will occur when the USPS actually does decrease so people are prepared to receive their mail in alternative ways.
The simple solution is broadband. A key to the successful shift from the reliance of paper mail and billing to a more electronic society is the delivery of effective and affordable broadband across the board.
Fortunately, broadband providers like Actelis Networks are already well-aware of the demand for alternative options and are ready to address them head on with its broadband Ethernet services over existing copper networks.
Actelis (News - Alert) Networks provides Ethernet access devices, Ethernet aggregation switches, Broadband Accelerators (BBAs), and the industry’s only deployed spectrally-compliant EFM repeaters to deliver up to 20 times the bandwidth with legacy copper solutions to commercial and particularly rural areas.
For urban communities the exchange of money that happens over paper will move electronically eventually which will require a need for more reliable connectivity and fatter pipes. According to Prakash Nagpal, director of solutions marketing at Actelis, dialing every half hour to check is just not practical anymore.
For businesses that are sending bills or invoices through snail mail, on the other hand, the delay involved could mean cashflow issues which have also proved true in past USPS strikes and layoffs. However, this may just be the push these companies need to motivate them to move faster towards the electronic process. According to Nagpal, since these companies are addressing multiple customers, they will have to possess more reliable, fatter pipes.
This also stands true for and becomes more critical for businesses in rural areas. Relying more on broadband solutions through suppliers that provide broadband access particularly to underserved areas will allow them to receive electronic billing and correspondence regardless of the situation. Actelis prides itself on the company’s ability to provide access in areas where other companies cannot.
By leveraging existing copper networks to accelerate the delivery of broadband services with fiber-like quality and reliability at a lower cost, Actelis is able to reach rural customers located in underserved areas when other providers can’t.
In the months to come, as the fate of the USPS becomes clearer, and with the help of broadband services to speed up the delivery of the traditional snail mail, the slogan often affiliated with the USPS, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” will certainly move towards more of a reality.
Stay tuned to the Broadband Solutions channel, exclusively on TMCnet, for the latest news regarding the outcome of the recent USPS layoffs as they occur and how it will affect the mail delivery for our country.
Stefanie Mosca is a Managing Editor for TMCnet, with a particular focus in wireless technologies as well as mobile and IP communications. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Haven. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page or follow her on Twitter (News - Alert) @stefaniemosca.
Edited by Chris DiMarco