Postal Service Launches New Online Mail Service

The U.S. Postal Service has come up with a new way to send mail - by using the Internet.

In conjunction with La Poste of France, Canada Post Corporation and the International Post Corporation in Brussels, the Postal Service this week launched a new online mailing service called Post Electronic Courier Service, or PosteCS.

Users of PosteCS set up their letters and business documents on Web-site addresses hosted by the Postal Service. The recipients receive an e-mail message directing them to that Web site, where they can view and download the documents for up to a month, said a Postal Service spokesman.

Pricing starts at $1.70 per document for users who process up to 499 letters each month. Add-on services, such as electronic postmarking, longer storage of messages and expanded message lengths, are available at an extra cost.

While each message will require an individual Web address, the Postal Service is "ready to handle as many requests as we get," the spokesman said. For example, businesses that want to send 50,000 or more messages per month can negotiate special rates. The Web servers that will hold the information are guarded with "military-type security," he added.

The Postal Service isn't instituting an antispam policy for users of the new service at this point. But the spokesman said the price of sending the messages may weed out any potential spammers from using PosteCS to flood the Internet with a new kind of junk mail.

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