Australia Post digital mailbox exits beta

Physical mail continues to lose money

Australia Post has revealed that its digital mailbox service left beta testing and has been formally released.

The digital mail service, intended to be a more secure version of email for bills and other important documents, went into public beta last year.

An Australia Post spokeswoman said the postal service continues to add providers supporting service.

In addition to the formal launch of the digital mailbox, Australia Post said it would also scale up its physical mail services, including year-round delivery on Saturdays. The announcement comes at a time when debate in the United States occurs around whether to kill Saturday deliveries to save money for the US Postal Service.

The Internet has placed great pressure on Australia Post, forcing it to embrace digital and make other changes to its business.

"Our projections show that with letter volume declines now accelerating to between 8 and 11 per cent per annum, our letter services, under current momentum, will lose $350 million this year and could grow to over $1 billion annually in losses,” said Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour.

“Without change and reform to letter services, we do not have the ability to absorb this loss and could, for the first time since corporatisation, become a cost to the government and ultimately the taxpayer.”

Fahour said embracing digital mail is a key part of Australia Post’s evolution.

"We ... recognise that in today's world we have to offer Australians access to our services in a trusted, convenient digital format,” he said.

“We're not only expanding our range of trusted physical services but we're also building digital infrastructure, such as our digital mailbox, that replicates the convenience, privacy, control, reliability and trust that we've always offered Australian consumers via our physical networks…

"We believe we need to change today, while we are strong, so that this transition is done in an orderly way and so we can protect the community's equity in our business. If we wait another 12 months it might be too late as the large losses from letters will overwhelm the organisation."

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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