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Verizon given greenlight to limit distribution of White Pages

Cutting residential White Pages reduces waste, helps environment

ALBANY, N.Y. - The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) today granted Verizon New York Inc. permission to provide residential white page directories only to customers upon request. The Commission's decision to ensure that residential white page directories are only sent to those customers who want them will reduce paper waste and improve the overall environment.

"There is understandable momentum in all aspects of our society to create a more 'green' environment," said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. "Customers have many options regarding finding telephone numbers, and future technologies may make this task even easier. Our decision today helps reduce paper waste, while ensuring customers who want residential white page directories can still get them. This is a win for the environment and for consumer choice."

On May 7, 2010, Verizon requested a waiver of Commission regulations which currently require it to distribute a residential white pages directory to all customers in its service territory. In its petition, Verizon states that technological advances, such as the widespread availability and use of Internet directories as well as the personal directories contained in virtually all wireless and wireline handheld devices, have allowed consumers to become much less reliant on, or interested in receiving, large printed white page directories.

Verizon, the largest telephone company in New York with about 5.1 million lines, estimates that approximately 5,000 tons of paper per year could be saved, as well as the significant energy costs associated with printing and distributing much larger directories statewide, creating a significant environmental benefit and unburdening thousands of customers who have no need for a printed directory. According to Verizon, directories slated for delivery starting in January will not have the residential white pages included.

Verizon currently delivers a combined residential white pages/yellow pages directory to many customers in its service territory, except in Manhattan and Nassau counties, where separate white and yellow pages are now printed and distributed. The white pages include the alphabetical listing of all Verizon residential customers, and may also include, on a more limited basis, residential listings of customers of other incumbent local exchange carriers, competitive local exchange carriers, cable and wireless customers who live within the exchange areas covered by the directory. Verizon's directories also include business and government white pages, yellow pages and consumer guide pages.

The company, through its directory publisher, SuperMedia LLC, will continue to distribute directories containing government and business white and yellow pages listings. Those directories will contain a toll-free number that customers would use to request a free printed residential white pages directory. Verizon will also issue a press release and use other means to let consumers know how to obtain a free printed residential white pages directory. A CD-ROM and online white pages directory service will also be available at no charge.

To ensure the success of the transition, and to assess the overall impact of the elimination of the residential portion of the directory white pages, Verizon will be required to provide quarterly status reports on the number of customer complaints it receives, as well as the number of customer requests it receives for the residential white pages, starting three months after initial distribution of new directories begins. The status reports will continue for one year after the streamlined directories are distributed.

The Commission's decision today, when issued, may be obtained by going to the Commission Documents section of the Commission's Web site at www.dps.state.ny.us and entering Case Number 10-C-0215 in the input box labeled "Search for Case/Matter Number." Many libraries offer free Internet access. Commission orders may also be obtained from the Commission's Files Office, 14th floor, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).

 

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