The U.S. Postal Service sees that its $35 billion snail-mail monopoly is in jeopardy and is looking to get into the e-mail business. Postal Service officials plan to test several new services intended to add a touch of cyberspace and hold off a decline in first-class mail. They believe first-class mail will begin an unprecedented decline thanks to e-mail and online billing. One new program would let people send messages via e-mail to the post office where they will be printed and sent as first-class mail. Another lets people pay bills at the Postal Service website.
But free e-mail accounts are available and the other services are already done by the private sector. "They're in catch-up mode," said Donald Heath, president of the nonprofit Internet Society