Policy Studies Regulatory Reform

Formalizing the USPS Universal Service Obligation

Key Points

Defining universal service would give USPS a clear mission as it adapts to falling mail volumes.
How we define universal service in telecommunications is a model for defining universal mail service moving forward.
Incorporating feedback from state-level officials could help USPS better-target rural mail subsidies.

What history has shown is that universal mail service has meant many different things over the centuries. And now, as the postal service faces the prospects of permanent decline, Congress may see value in giving postal stakeholders some formal guidance on how they should proceed.

Press release: You’ve Got Mail: Formalizing the USPS Universal Service Obligation

Image credit: Jessica Kirsh

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