AT&T asks to stop automatic delivery of White Pages around Georgia

When AT&T stopped automatic delivery of the White Pages phone book to its customers inside the Perimeter in 2008, it braced for the response.

Only 1 percent still wanted a printed copy.

Now, the company is asking for permission from the Georgia Public Service Commission to stop delivering the book to customers beyond I-285, in 18 communities across Georgia with combined populations of more than 50,000, a move that could further the demise of an American tradition.

If its request is approved, customers in the Gwinnett County, Marietta, and Cumming-Forsyth-Roswell-Alpharetta directory communities, among others, would have to request a free copy of the residential phone book to get one.

The Yellow Pages and the business White Pages would continue to be delivered.

AT&T also said 41 communities would continue to receive automatic delivery because their directory areas have combined populations of less than 50,000.

AT&T, which bills the plan as "The Residential White Pages Consumer Choice Program," has labeled automatic delivery of the residential directory "a substantial hardship."

Unlike the Yellow Pages, the White Pages do not generate advertising revenue.

The company would not say how much the cutback would save.

Observers have said the residential phone directory is unnecessary in an era when people store numbers on cellphones and when many people don't even have landline service. The residential directories don't carry cellphone numbers.

Supporters of the cutback also have said it would have an environmental benefit because it would reduce paper consumption.

AT&T offers an online residential directory at

Last year, the company distributed 6.6 million directories in Georgia, including the White Pages and jointly-bound White and Yellow Pages directories.

The affected communities would be: Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta-Harlem, Austell-Douglasville-Hiram-Mableton-Powder Springs, Cherokee-Pickens counties, Clayton-Fayette-Henry counties, Columbus-Hamilton, Cumming-Forsyth-Roswell-Alpharetta, Gwinnett, Henry, Lake Oconee-Reynolds Plantation, Macon-Forsyth, Marietta, Savannah, Warner Robins, and West Georgia.