Bye, Bye POSTNET?
As we mentioned in an earlier E-tip, the United States Postal Service® (USPS)® announced at the February Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting their plans to retire the POSTNET barcode in January 2013. The USPS followed this announcement with the publication of a Federal Register Notice on Friday, March 2, 2012, asking for comments from interested parties. Further, in January 2014, the USPS plans to take the next step of requiring Intelligent Mail in order to qualify for automation discounts. Essentially at that point the Intelligent Mail Basic Service will be retired.
The DMM Advisory notice below was sent out by the USPS after our current E-tips was already prepared, and we thought you might be interested in this update. The USPS has rescinded the barcode clear zone portion of their Federal Register notice regarding the proposed discontinuation of the POSTNET barcode.
Before you submit any comments to the USPS on this proposal, please review the DMM Advisory notice below.
POSTNET Barcode Discontinuation Comments
We have received some immediate feedback on this important Federal Register proposal, published on March 2, to retire the POSTNET barcode for automation price eligibility in January 2013. Many of you have sent us thoughtful responses on various aspects of the proposal, including the proposed change to the clear zone requirement for letters and flats.
We have decided that the final rule will exclude the clear zone requirement so that we can focus solely on the important aspects of the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb®) implementation plan. We encourage the mailing community to continue commenting on retiring POSTNET for automation pricing eligibility.
The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) is available on Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com). To subscribe to the DMM Advisory, send an e-mail to email@example.com. Simply indicate "subscribe" in the subject line.
Proposed Change to Letters and Flats
The USPS is proposing that the use of the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb) would be required for all automation letters, including Business Reply Mail® letters that qualify for Qualified Business Reply Mail prices and Permit Reply Mail letters, and all automation flats by January 2013.
Proposed Change for Letters Only
Specific to Letter Size mail, the USPS is proposing to revise DMM 202.5.0 to require barcode clear zones on all letters and cards claiming an automation letter price or automation carrier route letter price, and to require all machineable letters to have barcode clear zones. Reserving a barcode clear zone in the bottom right of the mailpiece allows for postal equipment to print and read barcode routing information in cases where no customer-applied address block barcode is present, or is unreadable. It reduces processing costs by increasing barcode recognition rates, keeping mail on automation equipment, and ensures mailpiece visibility. Standards for background and print reflectance (in DMM 708.4.4) are also needed to ensure readability of barcodes in the clear zone.
Proposed Change for Parcels
Currently, the POSTNET barcode is an available option to satisfy the parcel barcode requirement for Standard Mail® parcels. The USPS further proposes to eliminate the use of the POSTNET barcode on parcels, unless it is printed in the address block. eVS® parcels would not be allowed to bear POSTNET barcodes in any location.
Parties interested in submitting comments to the USPS should mail or deliver written comments to the Manager, Product Classification, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Room 4446, Washington, DC 20260–5015. Anyone may inspect and photocopy all written comments at USPS Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 11th Floor N, Washington, DC by appointment only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday by calling 1–202–268–2906 in advance. Email comments, containing the name and address of the commenter, may be sent to: MailingStandards@usps.gov, with a subject line of "‘POSTNET Discontinuation." Comments must be received on or before April 2, 2012.
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