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No more White Pages

This is long overdue.

You won’t be getting the residential White Pages in February, and if recent evidence is any guide, you won’t miss the annual thud on the doorstep.

AT&T, the nation’s largest distributor of the telephone directories, has added Houston to the growing list of cities where customers will receive a printed phone book only if they ask for one. The company will continue to provide directory assistance online or by phone.

Officials aren’t bracing for a backlash. When AT&T ceased automatic delivery in Austin two years ago, a mere 2 percent of customers asked for one, said spokesman Kerry Hibbs. In Atlanta the same year, only 1 percent did.

“That saves a lot on paper and landfill,” Hibbs said Friday. “It’s good for the environment.

“It’s going to free up a lot of kitchen-cabinet space in Houston.”

I’m actually kind of old school, in that my first inclination when I need to find a residential phone number is to reach for the phone book. But that doesn’t happen much any more – I keep most of the numbers I need but may not recall offhand on my cellphone these days – and I totally agree about the boon for the environment. So bravo, AT&T, for taking this step.

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