The Louisiana Public Service Commission To Decide The Fate Of The White Pages
AT&T has written up a proposal to be presented to the Louisiana Public Service Commission that asks the commission to do away with a requirement. The requirement means they must publish a free copy of the "white pages", or residential listings, each year. "The traditional residential white page telephone directory no longer provides the same utility it once did," according to comments AT&T made to the commission. Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell disagrees, saying, "Not everybody owns a computer. And even when they can afford one, rural residents often cannot get good Internet service because companies like AT&T have stopped investing in DSL expansion. The phone book is almost like the Bible for many people, and it is a security device."
Campbell says he believes that the decision to want to make a change to delivering the white pages has to do with money, and he says he will do everything within his power to make sure that they do not stop producing the white pages for customers. Campbell says, "AT&T is worried about money. They're not proposing to do away with the Yellow Pages because they make money there. And they are not offering to reduce their rates or eliminate the $1.50 they charge to call 411 Directory Assistance, so there is no benefit in this for consumers."
Fellow Public Service Commissioner Lambert Boissiere says he thinks the matter should be up to the consumer, since not everyone uses the white pages dropped off at their doorsteps. AT&T says the want a halt to the automatic delivery of the residential phone books, but they say if customers want them, then all they have to do is call and ask for them.
AT&T says they believe allowing customers to call and request a copy of the white pages makes more since as they told the commission, "customers are turning less and less to the residential white pages directory and are looking to online and other resources for listing information." The five member Louisiana Public Service Commission will have to make the final decision on whether or not to allow AT&T to quit making and delivering the white pages.