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Atlanta to Kiss the White Pages Goodbye

Taking another huge step in the right direction AT&T is looking to begin phasing out the distribution of its printed white pages phone book. According to an article by WSB News, the company has requested permission from the Georgia Public Service Commission to stop delivering white pages to homes in Atlanta, Chamblee, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, East Point, Hapeville, Lithonia, Sandy Springs and Tucker. If approved, those areas would not receive phone books from December 2009.

Households in those areas that do want to receive the white pages can opt in. And of course, they are going to continue printing the business white and yellow pages. AT&T have already moved towards a white pages opt-in scheme in other states.

This is fantastic news and definitely a progressive move. In their request to discontinue delivery of the white pages to Altanta metro households, AT&T acknowledged the environmental benefits of no longer publishing 876,000+ phone books for the area per year, most of which probably became doorstops, booster seats, impromptu stools and gently leaning towers gathering dust in some forgotten corner.

Hopefully we will continue to see more and more areas moved over to an opt in scheme for phone book delivery. Some people do use printed phone books and there is no reason why those people shouldn’t be able to receive them. An opt in scheme would work well for everyone (except maybe the publishers looking to sell expensive YP advertising).

A post from last year provides an interesting look at the opt-out debate surrounding business yellow pages and how desperately the industry does not want to allow it to happen. That was in October 2008. Maybe we’re seeing a shift beginning with the white pages, maybe not.

If you like the idea of banning unsolicited white page door drops you can sign the petition over at Ban the Phone Book. Does anyone know if there’s a similar one for Yellow Pages?

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