Skrmetta Supports Consumer Choice For Residential Phone Book

APRIL 30, 2012

AT&T has asked the Public Service Commission to approve a plan to provide consumers with white pages directories only upon request, eliminating over-printing and providing a cost-savings to the company that can benefit consumers, and Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta (R-Metairie) said he will support the plan.

“If consumers request a directory, they will absolutely receive a directory under AT&T’s proposal,” Skrmetta said. “Recent surveys by AT&T show that only about one percent of households utilize and want printed white page directories. Unwanted and unused directories are a waste of natural resources and scarce capital. Savings from printing directories only for consumers who actually want them can free up capital for increased development of consumer DSL and broadband services, in both traditional and cellular based modalities. Consumer choice allows for smart management of resources.”

“The traditional residential white page telephone directory is no longer in as great a usage as it once was,” AT&T representatives told the Commission last week. “Customers are turning less and less to the residential white pages directory and are looking to online and other resources for listing information.”

“It makes sense to ensure that white pages directories are available to all consumers who choose to have them,” Skrmetta said. “As we all know, not everybody owns a computer or a hand-held device, and there must be directory services available to serve consumers who could be affected.

“Savings realized by efficient production of the directory will allow for cash within the company to be used to expand DSL-type services into traditionally unserved or under-served areas. Once realized, AT&T needs to put those savings to work in Louisiana.” Skrmetta said. “In this difficult economy AT&T, like all companies and folks in general, must focus on the best uses of limited financial resources. This simple change to consumer choice helps achieve the best use.”

The Yellow Pages, predominantly funded by advertising revenue, would not be affected by this rule change.

“This change in how these directories are managed is pro-consumer,” Skrmetta said. “I’m going to do everything I can to bring consumer choice to the center of all discussions.”

Media Contact:
James Hartman