New USPS proposal threatens basic carrier-route rate for newspapers
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 13:33

By JOEL ALLIS, Texas Press Postal Consultant

USPS Mailing Standards submitted a new proposal in which all classes of mail would be charged higher rates if they fail the new deflection standards (droop test).  

The proposal is that Basic Carrier Route copies failing the new droop test standards would be charged the significantly higher 5-Digit rate.  Machinable or Automation rates would be taken away on other sortation levels.  This would apply to both in-county and outside-county copies.

The proposal appeared in the Federal Register on December 14.  Changes, if accepted, would become effective June 7, 2010.  These new standards are being put in place in advance of the USPS implementation of the Flat Sequencing System.
If this proposal is accepted as currently written it would mean higher postage costs for virtually every member newspaper as the vast majority of newspapers will not pass the droop test, and there is no easy fix to allow newspapers to pass this test.  

The results of the test would depend on paper weight, trim size, inserts and other factors, and could vary issue to issue. The implementation of this proposal could affect delivery standards as well.

Please take the time to find and read the DMM Advisories dated Dec. 2 and Dec. 14, and the Federal Register proposal relating to this topic.  These references will describe the deflection standards and the proposed rate adjustments for mailpieces failing this test.  

The Dec. 14 DMM Advisory solicits comments and provides information on submitting comments, which are due by January 13, 2010. These recommended references are available online through Postal Explorer at

The National Newspaper Association is aware of this proposal and its negative consequences for newspapers.  It is working to overturn or modify this proposal.

The TPA Periodicals Consultant team will be available at the TPA Trade Show in Galveston to perform a droop test or show you how to perform one on your publication.  We will also be available to further discuss this issue and provide any updated information relating to this important topic.