BY World's Editorial Writers
Thursday, January 20, 2011
1/20/11 at 6:14 AM
The white pages of the telephone book are quickly going the way of the rotary dial. AT&T customers might have noticed a difference in the weight and size of their new phone books because the white pages are missing. But it wasn't a mistake.
The residential pages in the 2010-11 phone book have been intentionally excluded.
AT&T says the new-look book is in line with the company's efforts toward environmental sustainability. We applaud the environmental conscience of AT&T while also recognizing it likely saves the company a good deal of money. And there's nothing wrong with either of those goals.
AT&T is now offering the Residential White Pages Consumer Choice Program. Customers can request a printed copy of the white pages or choose to get the information electronically on an AT&T website.
AT&T officials say the program has been successful in other markets, where only 5 percent of customers asked for a printed version. We suspect that many of those requests come from older people accustomed to a full phone book or those without handy access to a computer.
Statistics, however, show that only 11 percent of households relied on the books in 2008, down from 25 percent in 2005. A Tulsa World check with LIFE Senior Services in Tulsa found no negative response from its clients.
The big, bulky phone books do pose an environmental problem. Most old ones wind up in the trash, meaning they will be burned and the ashes buried in landfills.
AT&T's move won't solve the entire problem. Tulsans will likely continue to find full phone books on their porches as long as other companies print phone books. Maybe the other companies will follow AT&T's lead.
So long to the white pages, at least some of them. We can soon put them on the shelves with those old rotary phones.
The white pages have been
eliminated from the 2010-11 AT&T phone book. Tulsa World file