The death of the blank pages?

The internet may have killed the white pages.

Verizon has applied to the Virginia State Corporation Commission for permission to discontinue annual mass printing and distribution of blank pages.

According to a legal notice managed by Verizon Virginia Inc. and Verizon South Inc.:

“Verizon claims that household use of residential white page directories has declined in favor of alternative list access methods such as Internet directories. “

The company also cites the environmental benefits of not printing massive amounts of phone books. It says printing and distribution consume tons of paper and energy each year.

State regulations require telephone companies to provide white page directories to any customer with a landline.

Verizon said it will continue to print the yellow pages and make home phone number listings available to customers on request in print or toll-free online.

For those who could use 411 instead of the white pages, the phone companies are also pushing for a change in their favor on this front.

The SCC said several local phone companies have called for the elimination of a rule that allows two free 411 calls per month for landline customers.

The claim, which was filed on behalf of the phone companies by the Virginia Telecommunications Industry Association, could also be evidence that the land line is becoming as outdated as the phone book.

VTIA argues that telephone companies should be allowed to decide for themselves how many free 411 calls they should provide to customers. The two-call rule has been in place since 2008. Prior to that, customers were entitled to three free 411 calls.

Learn more about the proposals and how to comment on them here.

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Calvin W. Soper

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