While Americans can merely cough up another 5% for First Class Mail starting this Sunday--thanks the the Private Express Statutes--the UK is now open for competition:
The Royal Mail's 350-year monopoly ended at the turn of the year, allowing other licensed operators to deliver mail to business and residential customers.
Surprisingly, the Royal Mail - which currently controls 99% of the market - agreed to the move, even though under EU rules the deadline for such a move was not until 2009.
....Full market opening means that licensed operators are now able to collect and deliver any mail, from single letters to bulk mailings.
They can set up collection boxes, provide collections and deliveries between businesses, offer tracked mail services or mail deliveries at a guaranteed time.
A code of practice will ensure mail companies co-operate on issues such as the forwarding of mail and handling mail that is returned to sender, and a separate code will safeguard the integrity of the mail.
....The development is welcomed by consumers' group Postwatch, but not by postal union the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which has said the move is "ill-advised".
....However, according to one Swedish academic the UK may find liberalisation a positive experience.
Professor Peter Andersson, of the Department of Management and Economics at Linkoping University, has closely monitored his nation's postal services since liberalisation in 1993.
"We were the first nation to abandon the postal monopoly, and have now had over 10 years of liberalisation of the market," he told the BBC.
"To me the UK looks like something of a role model for the liberalisation process.
Will Cliff Clavin finally go the route of the dogs?