The U.S. Postal Service yesterday asked a U.S. Appeals Court to block a Federal Communications Commission ruling that concluded the FCC has jurisdiction over most aspects of electronic mail service.
The suit is another step in a continuing dispute between several government agencies about who will have regulatory authority to monitor any Postal Service plans to enter the electronic mail business.
The suit was filed by the Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the Postal Service.
President Carter has endorsed proposals to have the Postal Service enter the electronic mail field and Postmaster General William F. Bolger said the FCC's ruling is "inconsistent" with the Carter statement.
The FCC ruled in August that it has jurisdiction to monitor efforts by private carriers, and the Postal Service to enter the electronic mail field.
Bolger said "the jurisdictional view of the president and the Postal Service reflects a balanced and harmonious interpretation of the Postal Reorganization Act and the Communications Act of 1934."
The suit asks that the U.S. Court of Appeals enjoin the FCC from enforcing the decision and asks for a full review of the record in the case.
The Postal Service has a contract with Western Union to provide support for its study of electronic mail systems and begin implementing the speedy mail distribution system.
If it adopt a full-scale electronic mail system, bulk shipments of mail could be transmitted by computer to post offices in 25 locations, insuring two-day mail delivery across the country.
Once the messages are received, they are printed and put into envelopes, before being processed as first class mail.