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
    Telephony FAM, 24 Feb 2009 @ 10:19am

    Laws VS operations

    Information is power.

    If you've ever heard that phrase and believed it in any way. Then you'll understand why there are laws requiring the phone company's to do this. What if you could only call people or places who's number you already had...

    It's easy to think everyone does as I/you do but there are plenty of people without computers.
    Would you really force little old laddies to have to call in to get a phone book?

    Or, for those who just have a desktop with no power back up. Look at what happened back in the east with the ice storms... I'll bet a few of them used their phone books.

    Yes, the law should support customers who opt to get it on CD or not at all.

    Though the problem here isn't necessarily the law so much as the way things are done. The phone company contracts a company to make the books. Then that company subcontracts to have them distributed. The subcontractors then often hire day-labors to deliver. Who are many times paid buy units delivered.
    It just becomes simpler and more effective to give everyone a book. Then having to go back out weeks later to get those that where missed.

    Now the yellow pages are a whole other mess. Basing there sales off how many go out on to door steps.

    So laws or regulations that I'd support are ones requiring these companies. To have recycling initiatives for a set pound or tonnage delivered to any given area.

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