It's The Law: AT&T Has To Give You A Phonebook

from the thanks,-government dept

AT&T has been testing a plan to distribute residential phone books on CD, rather than on paper. That sounds like a great idea that marries environmental benefits with cost savings, and could probably be taken a step further by only distributing the white pages in any format on request. Yellow-pages publishers are struggling as the web steals away their audience, and it's hard to imagine the white pages gets much use any more, either. But there's at least one obstacle standing in the way of the elimination of the white pages: laws in some states that require the company to publish and deliver a residential directory to every one of its customers. I'm hard pressed to remember the last time I used the white pages, and given that they don't list cell phone numbers, they're growing more and more irrelevant to many people. Burdening the phone companies with their production and distribution seems pretty pointless these days, not to mention the environmental impact of millions of the books, the vast majority of which are never used, and only a small portion of which are recycled.

Filed Under: laws, phonebook, waste
Companies: at&t


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  1. identicon
    Rekrul, 24 Feb 2009 @ 9:35am

    I still use the phone, but it's becoming increasingly harder to do so.

    It used to be that we got one phonebook each year. Now we get about 6-8. White pages, yellow pages, alternate yellow pages, yellow pages for other towns, etc.

    Even so, I can never find what I'm looking for half the time. Case in point; I recently had problems with my ear and my joint doctor recommended that I see a specialist. The only ones I could find in the yellow pages under Ear, Nose & Throat were in other towns and wanted $200-300 just for an office visit. I ended up going to a walk-in clinic and the doctor there referred me to a local specialist who only charged me $105 to clear my ear and prescribe drops for an infection. I asked why he wasn't in the book and he said he was, just not in the yellow pages. Ok, how am I supposed to know about him if he isn't listed under the specific category that I need?

    I wouldn't mind having the directory on CD, IF the listing was in plain-text format that I could view and search using my own software. If they want to put a Windows only viewer on the disc, that's fine with me, as long as you don't actually need it to search the data.

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