What Rowland Hill really meant

English: Photograph and signature of
English: Photograph and signature of (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new letter from Rowland Hill, the Victorian postal reformer has been discovered:

My proposal for a universal penny post was adopted, but I greatly regret it.

It is true that my proposal, on adoption, led to vast increase in mails, and contributed to the greater wealth of the kingdom. It eliminated, at a stroke, the many complex and expensive procedures that previously delayed mails and increased costs. Through simplification it allowed commerce to plan with certainty and by increasing volumes it allowed the Royal Mail to cover the whole kingdom with the low cost, high volume trade ensuring that higher cost destinations could be reached and that certainty itself of course added to the volumes of mail as all could now rely on the service to deliver to all parts.

Yet having seen the success of my proposal I now realise that a huge opportunity to raise revenue was lost. The Royal Mail treated domestic and commercial mails in the same manner – surely they should have been entitled to a share of the profits of the commercial ventures enabled by the universal service. Further it is plain that some used the mail to send postcards while others put many sheaves inside envelopes. In retrospect the simplicity of the penny post enabled this and it would have been better to have insisted that pages inside envelopes were counted at the post office counter and letters were charged accordingly. 

Of course he did not write such nonsense. But this, in essence, is the argument being proposed by Hyosil Kim of KT (the former Korea Telecom – read their wikipedia entry and tell me in all seriousness you don’t think it was written by someone in their pay) and hosted on the International Telecommunications Union’s blog. What a load of rubbish.

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