I think it speaks for itself. If you have views on this issue, please share them in the comments section below. I’m pretty certain they’ll get read by the Royal Mail.
Adam Crozier letter
Dear Mr Crozier,
ErnestMarples.com was set up in July to provide a free service to
convert postcodes to physical coordinates. Its founders believe that such a service is fundamental if we are to create an ecosystem for innovation on the web.
On Friday 2nd October, ErnestMarples.com was forced to close down
because of legal action by Royal Mail. As its services also powered
other sites, this has had a knock-on effect meaning the likes of Jobcentreproplus.com, planningalerts.com and thestraightchoice.com are
now no longer functional either.
The heavy handed approach by the Royal Mail to a growing sector of not-for-profit citizen focused websites is not new but still deeply regrettable. As a minister, I initiated a conversation that I hoped would lead to Royal Mail taking a more flexible approach with the web community who seek to use geo-spatial co-ordinates to develop new and innovative services that help the public in their daily lives.
I take the position that the postcode file and the data set of physical co-ordinates that go with it are a national asset that should be freely available to any UK citizen. I understand, though, that in the short term the entrepreneurs in your organisation have monetised their monopoly supply of the file to generate income of about £11 million a year.
We live in tough economic times. I’m a realist. But I do hope that you can apply your considerable talents to find an amicable solution that allows the profit making direct-mail industry to pay a fair fee for a postcode database license, whilst allowing the non-profit sector to flourish and innovate. Do this, and you might even stimulate a market niche of profit making internet related companies that can sustain Royal Mail in the digital age.
I intend to raise this matter with ministers in Parliament next week and look forward to hearing from you.