Monday, November 26, 2012

Alaska May Scrap Mandatory Distribution Of Residential Phone Directories If The Regulatory Commission Of Alaska Approves

Good news for those of us Alaskans who are sick and tired of our mailboxes and porches being littered with huge paper copies of phone directories. Partial relief may be on the way.

According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Administrative Law Judge John P. Wood is sympathetic towards arguments put forth by both Alaska Communications Systems (ACS) and GCI supporting the elimination of mandatory distribution of residential phone directories, which is required by state law. In June 2011, ACS had asked the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) to allow it to halt mass distribution of the white pages, a practice required by state law. The RCA rejected that request in November 2011, but promised to revisit it this year after more study. They were initially scheduled to vote on the matter earlier in November, but the parties agreed to allow state regulators to extend their deadline until December 28th. In October, Judge Wood submitted an opinion backing the move, writing that arguments in favor of scrapping delivery of the white pages are persuasive.

There are four compelling reasons to discontinue the practice:

-- A growing number of people no longer have landlines, relying solely upon mobile phones. Mobile phone numbers are not listed in the white pages.

-- A growing number of people are opting out of having their phone numbers listed. Both ACS and GCI estimate that 40 percent of their residential landline customers don’t want to be listed.

-- A growing number of people are complaining about these directories littering their properties.

-- Other states have already taken similar action in response to a nationwide campaign.

Wood’s ruling and the RCA decision would only affect residential white-page directories; government pages, business white pages and yellow pages are not part of the case. The ruling would not stop out-of-state contractors like Ziplocal in Orem, Utah from distributing those infamous RAM phone directories up here, either. Why in hell a Utah company would want to spam us with paper phone directories is one of the mysteries of the age. As a matter of fact, back in February 2011, KTVA Channel 11 reported that Ziplocal, then known as PDC Pages, was suspected of fraud when they printed far fewer phone books than promised to their advertisers, but still charged them the full price for the ads. The local Alaska distributor of the phone books, Flawless Distribution, attempted to do what they could to make it right, filing a complaint with the Attorney General's office and visiting the different advertisers here to explain what happened.

It's no surprise that Utah Valley, where Orem is located, is often described as the affinity fraud capital of the United States. Two of the more controversial home security alarm companies, Pinnacle Security and APX, are headquartered there as well.



  2. I am finding it very difficult to find the ACS or GCI white pages residential directory online. The search links keep sending me to sites that want me to pay to get a residential phone number. For example, GCI phased out the online directory after 2010, according to Summer, a supervisor at GCI customer service. Is there any other option get a simple residential phone number without paying for each one?