Fedwire Briefs

USPS set to launch PC Postage

Postmaster General William Henderson was scheduled to hold a news conference today to announce the launch of the U.S. Postal Service's Internet-based PC Postage program as well as one or more PC Postage products that will be available in stores this summer. The PC Postage program will let people use their PCs to buy stamps via the Internet and print them directly onto envelopes or labels.

Four companies - E-Stamp Corp., Stamps.com, Neopost and Pitney-Bowes Inc. - have been beta testing their products in conjunction with USPS for more than a year. E-Stamp and Stamps.com, however, appeared to have an edge in getting USPS approval to begin selling their products commercially because they made it to a final beta stage in May.

USPS' role in the program is to establish and enforce standards. PC Postage will offer consumers and businesses the convenience of being able to buy stamps any time from a PC connected to the Internet. The program also was designed to increase the efficiency of the USPS by reducing traffic at post offices.

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Commerce's Irving to resign post

Larry Irving, assistant secretary of Commerce for communications and information and the administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, plans to leave the Commerce Department at the end of the summer. Irving, who served as the administration's point man for the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996, the most comprehensive reform of the nation's telecommunications laws in 60 years, plans to announce after Labor Day what he intends to do in the future. Gregory Rohde, senior legislative assistant to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), will replace Irving.

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USDA awards pact for laptops, PCs

The Agriculture Department last week awarded a series of contracts valued at about $18 million to Intelligent Decisions Inc. to supply laptop and desktop computers and software. The products will support the USDA's common computing environment, which will provide a common set of desktop computers, applications and other technologies to USDA service centers nationwide to offer farmers one-stop shopping for services.

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DOE buys Y2K-fix software

The Energy Department recently selected Denver-based Accelr8 Technology Corp. to supply Navig8 2000, software that will aid in the correction of Year 2000 software coding problems in Soviet-designed reactors. The software was designed to help computer experts at nuclear power plants detect and correct Year 2000 vulnerabilities in computer applications.

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