The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has announced its 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 the Full Service level of Intelligent Mail in order to qualify for automation discounts. Essentially at that point the Intelligent Mail Basic Service will be retired.
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. Email comments, containing the name and address of the commenter, may be sent to: [email protected], with a subject line of “POSTNET Discontinuation.” Comments must be received on or before April 2, 2012.