AT&T recently asked the Missouri Public Service Commission to waive an old rule requiring telcos to distribute telephone directories. AT&T is still willing to distribute the White Pages directories to residential and business consumers who want them, and also would continue to publish and distribute the Yellow Pages directories, but wants to control the cost of producing the print directories where it can. With numerous Internet and mobile options available now, it might make a lot of sense.
The move comes as the directories business may be making it's conclusive turn away from the traditional print format. Cincinnati Bell also recently said it would cease White Pages delivery (and wants to raise its rates for directory assistance). Meanwhile, Verizon Communications directories spin-off Idearc recent filed for bankruptcy protection, in part because growing online revenue couldn't keep up with print losses. All this activity comes more than a year after SureWest Communications sold its directories business.
In the O'Shea household, we just received our latest delivery of heavyweight print directories the other day, and tossed them in the cupboard just in case we need them at some point. Of course, we then removed last year's directories--untouched since they showed up last April--to the recycling bin.
- BusinessWeek has this story
Directories may be big business--just not print directories
Idearc recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection