E-COM was intended as an integrated communications system, combining electronic message transmission, data processing, printing, and physical delivery of hardcopy letters.
Though E-COM was not designed to provide end-to-end, fully electronic, computer- to-computer communication, it was intended as a first step into the realm of new communications technologies.
E-COM generated immediate controversy and faced stiff resistance from telecommunications companies and, to a degree, business mailers.
Telecom companies claimed that E-COM would unfairly dominate the market for hybrid mail services and prevent private industry from carving out a significant share of the market for value-added mail services.
Critics of E-COM also worried about the precedent that it might set.
In an effort to ensure that the rates they paid for traditional mail did not rise, the Council of Public Utility Mailers (CPUM), an interest group representing electric and gas utilities, argued before the PRC that E-COM should be self-supporting and not draw revenue from traditional hardcopy postal services (CPUM, 1978b, pp.