Overshadowed by digital communication, USPS to end Saturday delivery

usps mail truck

Covered in detail by the Associated Press earlier today, the United States Postal Service announced plans to halt the majority of Saturday mail delivery across the entire country starting August 1, 2013. While continuing to ship and deliver packages on the weekend, items like letters, postcards, flyers and catalogs that arrive at your local post office on Friday will remain stored until the following Monday. However, post office boxes will continue to receive mail on Saturdays and post offices will stay open on Saturday to allow customers to drop off packages as well as standard mail.

USPS deliveryRegarding the shift in policy, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe stated “The American public understands the financial challenges of the Postal Service and supports these steps as a responsible and reasonable approach to improving our financial situation. The Postal Service has a responsibility to take the steps necessary to return to long-term financial stability and ensure the continued affordability of the U.S. Mail.”

After posting nearly sixteen billion in annual losses during November 2012, USPS officials estimate that halting delivery on Saturday will save approximately two billion dollars each year. While holiday shipping during late 2012 provided a 20 percent boost in revenue, the USPS previously stated the organization had enough cash to continue operating through Fall 2013. However, this cost-cutting maneuver could help push the USPS through the 2013 holiday shopping season. 

Over the past several years, the USPS has attempted to shift to a five-day schedule, but Congress never approved of the measure. However, the USPS supposedly found a loophole that allows the organization to put the five-day schedule in place without the need for congressional approval. Representatives from Congress and the White House stated that they will be reviewing the shift in policy, but both organizations want the USPS to become more financially secure. 

Stack of mailAccording to representatives from the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Farmers Union, they believe moving to a five-day schedule will negatively impact rural sections of America that are still reliant on the postal service rather than digital communication. However, studies conducted by the USPS have found that approximately seventy percent of Americans support the shift from a six-day schedule to a five-day schedule.

Definitely impacted by the rise in digital communication, the volume of mail moving through the USPS fell by approximately 24 percent over a five year period between 2006 and 2011. This is mostly attributed to the decline in first class mail as well as advertising mail sent through the postal service. As companies have shifted to digital communication like email marketing and paperless billing, the impact on the USPS is clearly negative. 

Over a similar five year period, text messages increased from approximately 10 billion sent during 2005 to more than 185 billion messages sent during 2010. The volume of email accounts used by people around the world is expected to reach four billion by 2015. As these forms of digital communication become increasingly prevalent within the United States, it’s unlikely that the postal service will need to continue to deliver mail on the newly proposed five-day schedule. Over the next ten years, it’s possible that the USPS could shift to an even shorter four or three-day delivery schedule for standard mail as more people embrace computers and mobile devices for communication.

Emerging Tech

Alphabet’s ‘Wing’ delivery drones are on their way to Europe

Google-parent Alphabet is taking its "Wing" drone delivery project to Helsinki in Finland. The move follows 18 months of trials in Australia, and gives the team the chance to test its technology in a harsh winter climate.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.

Google’s updated Santa Tracker entertains and teaches coding throughout December

Google's Santa Tracker is in its fifteenth year and is back again with even more features. You can have fun with more than 20 games, learn about different holiday traditions around the world, and enjoy some festive animations.

Microsoft is ‘handing even more of online life’ to Google, Mozilla CEO says

Not everyone is happy with Microsoft's switch to Google's Chromium engine. In a new blog post, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard writes that he believes the move is "handing online life control" to Google.

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.

Google Translate updated to reduce gender bias in its translations

Google is changing how Google Translate offers translations. Previously when you entered a word like doctor, Translate would offer a masculine interpretation of the word. Now, Translate will offer both masculine and feminine versions.

Encryption-busting law passed in Australia may have global privacy implications

Controversial laws have been passed in Australia which oblige tech companies to allow the police to access encrypted messages, undermining the privacy of encryption with potentially global effects.

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?