(Northport, NY) For years, as the internet and the portable technology that we use to access it have become more widespread and commonplace, the public’s reliance on older methods of acquiring information have started falling by the wayside. And there’s no instance in which this rings more true than with the print phone book industry. For years, physical phone directories have been the object of scorn for numerous reasons, be it the widespread destruction of trees for their creation, the jam-packed landfills they are quickly thrown into, or the inefficient and outdated information they contain (especially since most wireless numbers are never offered for inclusion in print directories to begin with)…just take your pick.
But, despite their greater and greater irrelevance, year after year, those pesky phone books kept plopping down on everyone’s front steps every year, much to the chagrin of just about everyone who received them. As a result, a national “opt-out” movement began to take root in the collective population in an effort to curb and even outright eliminate the delivery of these unwanted tomes; interested parties could sign into various state and federal “do not deliver” registries to finally bring an end to the non-stop phone books clogging up with recycling bin.
Apparently, the scorn and the sheer number of people “opting out” of print directory delivery finally amounted to the collective straw that broke the camel’s back; shockingly enough, it’s PHONE COMPANIES now that are asking government if they can stop “blanket delivering” white pages to numerous regions, mainly because they’ve finally seem to have gotten the message that no one wants them.
According to The Hour, New York has become one of the initial states where phone carriers have begun the task of seeking permission to cease delivery of white pages books to entire regions, based on – among other things – a blatant lack of need for them by the citizens inhabiting them. At the start of 2017, Frontier Communications approached New York State regulators to request permission to stop print white page “blanket delivery,” instead planning to offer the phone books as they are asked for by customers. Before Frontier, communications bigwig Verizon has approached state officials asking them to grant a similar request regarding their white page deliveries as well.
The reasons for Frontier’s request to halt mass white page distribution within New York State were as expected; they cited advanced in technology and the public’s increased reliance upon it as creating competition they simply couldn’t handle. Instead, Frontier representatives stated in their request to the New York State Public Service Commission that they plan on turning their own resources towards embracing more digital solutions to phone directory searches as well.
“Technological advances in the telecommunications industry (e.g. internet directories) have made customers much less reliant on, and interested in, printed directories,” they said. “Further, printed directories do not include individuals or businesses that now utilize wireless devices nor do they include listings of individuals that subscribe to cable and VoIP services through providers that no longer submit their customers’ telephone numbers for inclusion in directories.”
While worrying about the environmental impact that the creation and subsequent disposal of print phone books is most likely not a key factor in Frontier’s decision to stop mass delivery of their books to customers, they nonetheless attempted to sweeten the deal in their request to the state by noting that stopping their distribution would save up to 12 tons of paper a year. If this is accurate, then that certainly can’t be a bad thing, but it helps to remember that this is only a fortunate by-product of their decision to abandon physical phone books…they main motivation is most likely maintaining their profit margins. But hey, we’re happy to see the environment saved, no matter how it’s done.
So, after years of the public fighting to stop the unwanted delivery of wasteful, inefficient, and essentially worthless print telephone directories, it seems that the phone companies are finally getting the message. It’s sure that once companies such as Frontier and Verizon benefit financially from abandoning a outdated business model and apply more resources towards the digital solutions for directory searches that people actually want, the better it will be for both us and the environment.