Discussion Papers

Wolfgang Elsenbast

Die Infrastrukturverpflichtung im Postbereich aus Nutzersicht
Nr. 162 / Juli 1996

Summary

Despite the importance of an acceptable definition of the universal service obligation in Europe, there is still little knowledge about the social benefits of universal service. Further, it seems to be unknown which dimensions of the universal service are more or less important for the consumer of postal services.

The aim of this study is to make a first attempt to get informations about the social benefits of universal service and the importance of its dimensions. Therefore, we made a representative inquiry of 1.000 households and approximately 1.100 firms in Germany.

In the study we differentiate between five dimensions of universal service, which can be regarded as the most important ones: Mode of delivery (delivery to the house or roadside delivery), frequency of delivery, price (uniform tariff), density of postal offices and agencies and speed of delivery.

Regarding the informations given by households and firms, the following conclusions can be drawn:

- The mode of delivery seems to be the most important dimension of universal service. Delivery to the house is favoured much more than roadside delivery. Especially, delivery to the house is important for households with older persons. It is more important in urban than in rural areas. Delivery to the house favours households with middle or low income and households which are badly equipped with means of telecommunications and computers. Central, regional and local authorities as well as social insurances seem to have some interests in roadside delivery. Especially foresty operations, the agricultary industry and the fishing industry as well as non profit organisations and the construction industry seem to have no interest in roadside delivery. Regarding the informations given by the firms, there seems to be no difference in the appreciation of the mode of delivery between urban and rural regions.

- The practise of the Deutsche Post AG to deliver six days per week favours households which are high or selective users of the letter service and firms which wish to have a delivery on saturday.

- The uniform tariff favours households with a higher volume of letters and parcels delivered in rural regions. Firms seems to take no advantage or disadvantage of the uniform tariff.

- The preservation of the density of postal offices and agencies favours households with older persons and households which are badly equipped with means of telecommunications and computers as well as households with low income and/or lower education. The favoured households can be classified as low users. Further, the preservation seems to favour nearly all branches in the same way, except central, regional and local authorities and social insurances which are the less favoured branches.

- D+1 as the actual standard of delivery time favours high and selective users as well as households with high income. The following branches seems to be favoured by the high standard of letter service in Germany: Transport and communications, service business, manufacturing, trade, energy, water and mining industry.

Only German language version available.

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