RealTime IT News

Spain Studies Post Office E-Mail Service

Access to e-mail should become a public service available through the post office, Spain's top Net users group stated this week.

As part of a plan to promote greater Internet use throughout Spain, the Spanish Internet Users Association (AUI) proposed incorporating e-mail services into the national Postal and Telegraph service. Ideally, clients could send e-mail from any post office and connect to a virtual office that lets them fax or mail e-mail.

"This service would allow any citizen to send e-mail even if he isn't connected to the Net," Miguel Perez Subias, AUI president, stated to Noticias Intercom. "It will facilitate communication between Internet users and the rest of society by allowing one to send messages to a fax or to a postal address from any computer. Furthermore, it would be a renovating force for the traditional postal service."

The AUI presented the proposal the Work Group for Promotion of the Information Society, a group comprising representatives from labor unions, government ministries, business associations and Internet user associations.

This proposal is part of AUI's greater strategy to bring less favored sectors of society into the online realm. In addition to promoting electronic commerce and affordable Net access, the organization has also proposed free access for schools, the unemployed, and senior citizens.

With the slogan "Internet for everyone," the AUI's plan of action aims "to let the unwired know the benefits and risks of Net use" and to get millions of new users online. The plan includes "creating a user service center, an access quality control center, and a CD-ROM about appropriate Internet use."

At under 3 million casual Net users (and roughly 2 million regular users), Spain lags behind other European countries like Germany and the UK, though competition in the liberalized telecommunications sector is expected to bring close to 7 million users online by year's end.