(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| Telecom Ministry to Offer PC-to-Paper Mail Service
March 5, 1999 (TOKYO) -- The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications
(MPT) conducted a trial of a hybrid PC-to-mail service in February,
and it plans to launch the service this summer.
|The MPT's hybrid mail service enables letters and other correspondence
written on computers to be printed on paper at a post office near the
intended recipient, before being delivered.
The trial service allows users to include color photographs and illustrations
with their mail, a new feature. The nationwide service is scheduled
to be launched this summer, an MPT official said.
In the trial, documents written on ordinary PC word-processing software
first had to be converted by the service's own special software. Then,
the messages are sent, via the Internet, to the service's main "post
office." Next, they are sorted automatically and then relayed to the
sub-post offices located near the recipients. Finally, they are printed
on paper using color printers, inserted into envelopes and delivered.
The color printing makes it possible for diagrams, charts and spreadsheets
(using Microsoft's Excel) to be handled by the service. And, copies
of the same document could be distributed to a large number of different
recipients at the same time.
No postage fees were charged during the trial. When the commercial service
starts, the fee is expected to be set at around 110 yen (120.55 yen
= US$1). Postage for ordinary letters costs 80 yen, so the service
will be only 30 yen more expensive.
The new service will prove to be valuable for those who need to send
documents to a large number of recipients living or working in different
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