The blank pages are a sign of the past

?? There won’t be an AT&T White Pages phone book delivered to Mike and Robin Benetz’s Pulaski County home this year, not that they will miss it.

Residents of the Little Rock area will receive their free annual delivery of a Yellow Pages phone book to their homes by mid-month, but the regular White Pages phone book of residential listings won’t be there.

This year will be the first time in more than 80 years that residential listings will not appear in the phone books delivered to every residence in the Little Rock area each year, according to a company spokesperson. These lists should now be requested from AT&T.

No thanks, Robin Benetz said Thursday.

“They actually delivered it last year,” said Benetz, whose home hasn’t had a landline for three years, after the family switched to all cellphones. “Of course, we don’t use them. I throw them away because I can look up any number I need on my cell phone.

“It’s just a waste of trees,” she said.

AT&T announced last year that telephone directories for residential listings in the Little Rock area will be made-to-order only, though still free, starting this year. The company cited a decline in the use of directories due to a variety of other sources available for finding phone numbers.

Yellow page directories continue to include white page business listings, government phone numbers, community information, advertising, and coupons.

AT&T received 72 requests for white pages directories mid-week, said Anita Smith, AT&T Arkansas media relations manager.

“The Residential White Pages Consumer Choice program has been well received, with requests typically below 5%,” Smith said.

The Yellow Pages directories began shipping on January 19 and distribution will continue until February 17, she said. The very first telephone books were delivered to Little Rock “around 1929,” Smith said.

The company currently has no plans to stop free print directories, Smith said, calling the phone book a “valuable product” that 78 percent of consumers still use.

“At this time, there is no reason to believe that the product will not continue to be a valuable resource for the foreseeable future or that we will stop producing free consumer directories,” she said. declared.

Homes in Arkansas lead the country in landline abandonment, with 35.2% of homes replacing traditional landlines with cellphones, according to state-by-state figures for one year through June 2010 compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Figures are the most recent government data available.

More than three in 10 households – 31.6% – in the United States had only cordless phones in the first half of 2011, up 21% from 2006, according to the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the CDC.

Pages in residential listings have also declined in recent years. The 2012 book contains 176 pages of residential ads, Smith said. This is down from 224 pages in 2011, 260 in 2010, 285 in 2009 and 324 in 2008, according to previous counts.

Cell phones and new home phones store received numbers, as does caller ID on landlines, and smartphone users have instant directories at their fingertips.

In addition, having a landline as a home phone has declined, with consumers choosing to have only cell phones, the numbers of which are not listed in telephone directories.

Paul Myrick of North Little Rock said he hadn’t searched the White Pages for “at least three years, maybe.” Myrick got rid of his landline at this time for convenience.

“All we were getting were sales calls,” said Myrick, who owns a pawnshop in the Levy area of ​​North Little Rock. “Anyone in our family, or any of our friends, called our cell phones. We thought, “Why have this? So we got rid of it. “

Myrick said he also didn’t need the residential listings in a printed phone book.

For Benetz, getting rid of the home’s landline was for more reliability, she said, after her family moved outside of the city limits of North Little Rock.

“They had to bury our lines instead of putting them on poles,” she said. “We just had bad service. Every time it rained the phones and fax machine didn’t work so we got tired of dealing with it and went wireless.

For Ray Pierce, a state employee in Little Rock, ridding his house of a landline about three years ago meant saving on an additional expense.

“I had a cell phone and it didn’t make sense to me to have a cell phone and a landline,” Pierce said. “I don’t have a lot of people I have to call all the time, and I don’t spend a lot of time on the phone. It didn’t make economic sense to keep them both.

All Little Rock area residents who would still like their fingers to browse a printed directory can request a free printed copy of the actual YP Residential White Pages by calling (866) 329-7118, visiting or at Applications must be completed within two weeks.

Multiple copies can be requested free of charge “within reason,” Smith said.

Even though Pierce said he no longer had a landline at home, he would “probably” ask for a home directory to browse.

“But how many times I would use it over a year is questionable,” he said. “We can determine from that how much I thought it was really important.”

Calvin W. Soper

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