While AT&T strenuously opposed legislation last year in California (SB 920, Yee) to shift from mass distribution of phone books to distribution on request (opt-in), in multiple other states such as New York, Florida and Pennsylvania, Verizon has been asking regulators for exemptions from state requirements to distribute printed residential phone books. Residents in Virginia have until Nov. 19 to provide comments on a similar request pending with state regulators.
White pages have become obsolete as more people switch to using online directory listings. In addition, more people are disconnecting their landlines, using only their cell phones, whose numbers typically aren't included in the listings. According to a survey conducted for SuperMedia Inc. by Gallup, between 2005 and 2008, the percentage of households relying on residential white pages fell from 25 percent to 11 percent.
The environmental benefit of eliminating residential white pages would be using less paper and ink for print, and less energy and fuel use for distribution of the phone book.