AT&T Arkansas has applied for a waiver from the Public Service Commission to give its customers a choice to receive, only upon request, a paper copy or CD-ROM of the residential white page telephone directory (and at no charge to customers).
With the rise of cell phones – which aren’t published – the ability to use the Internet, caller ID capture, and a shift in customer demand, AT&T notes a "diminished utility" for the white pages.
In test markets in Austin, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia, AT&T found that a little over two percent of their customers requested a white pages directory.
Andy Morgan, a spokesman for AT&T, says that the new offering reflects the changing times.
"It’s not about eliminating residential white pages, but about giving consumers a choice. Customers can choose to use electronic options or request the printed book," he said.
Morgan said that the initiative only affects residential white pages. AT&T will continue to distribute its yellow pages directory, which include ads and information from local businesses, as well as business white page listings, government listings, and emergency information.
"While this initiative is about consumer choice, it also enables AT&T to reduce the amount of paper and ink we purchase, and aligns with our ongoing efforts toward environmental sustainability," Morgan tells Talk Business.
If the waiver is approved by the PSC, AT&T will launch a marketing campaign to highlight the option.