Talk about a dying business...
More than 470,000 fewer phone books will be delivered in Auckland this year, after the Government agreed to the trial of a new opt-in system for the White Pages directory, Communications and Information Technology and Environment Minister Amy Adams says.Following government approval in March, Yellow, the company which puts together the White Pages, allowed Aucklanders to choose if they wanted to receive a printed copy this year.
Only about four per cent of Auckland households have chosen to receive a printed version.
“Given a choice, the vast majority of Aucklanders appear comfortable with finding the information they need electronically, and do not require a printed directory,” Ms Adams says.
Last year, more than 494,000 books were delivered to households around Auckland. By contrast, fewer than 21,000 copies of the 2013 directory will be delivered to Aucklanders later this month.
“This means a saving that is equivalent to more than 300 tonnes of paper just by making the most of technology and doing things smarter. Indications are that if the unwanted phonebooks were stacked on top of each other, the pile could be nearly 10km high.”
The pilot scheme was set-up following a survey commissioned by Yellow. The survey showed that 75 per cent of Auckland residents agreed there should be a choice to receive the White Pages phone books.
The results of the Auckland trial will feed into the review of the Telecommunications Service Obligations (TSO), Ms Adams says.
The TSO includes an obligation dating back to 1997 for a printed copy of the relevant regional White Pages directory to be delivered free of charge to every residence in New Zealand with a phone line.
More than 1.3 million households are covered by the TSO.
“One of the questions the review will need to ask is whether this requirement is still appropriate, given changing technology and the way people access information.
“The Auckland results suggest that giving people a choice about whether or not to receive a printed residential phone directory may be an option for other parts of New Zealand.”
There will be an opportunity for public submissions on this issue as part of the TSO review. A discussion document is due to be published in the near future.