Tuesday 20 March 2018

Households can now make call on getting phonebook

Linda McGrory

MORE than a million homes can for the first time opt out of having the phonebook delivered to their doorsteps.

Every household in the country receives the residential phone directory, pictured, each year.

The books have become noticeably thinner in the past decade, due in part to the phenomenal growth of mobile phone and internet use.

Eircom says while the large door-stop tome remains popular, the company has listened to customer feedback and has decided to give people the choice of receiving one or not.

A leaflet will be included in all next editions telling people how they can opt out.

"About 1.5 million – currently all homes in Republic of Ireland – receive a hard copy of the telephone directory. Our most recent research suggests that most homes do actively use the telephone directory when they wish to look up a number," said an Eircom spokeswoman.

"However, from this year on, customers will have the option to opt out from receipt of a hard copy of the telephone directory with the option to opt in again at any future date."

The 'Golden Pages', often delivered along with the residential book, is not published by Eircom.

Many environmental campaigners see the traditional phonebook as junk mail, more likely to end up in landfill or the recycling bin.

An 18pc reduction in the overall size of BT's phonebook in Britain contributed to savings of about 2,000 tonnes of paper per year.

Other critics argue that phonebooks delivered to doors when residents are out can be an unwelcome calling-card for burglars.

Advocates for older people say Eircom's new opt-out system is the best outcome for people who have no access to the internet.

"More and more companies are abandoning traditional leaflets, booklets and paper guides and opting instead to communicate only through their websites," said Age Action's Eamon Timmins.

"This is causing increasing hardship for older people as firms are often unaware that more than 70pc of over-65s in Ireland are not online.

"The Eircom phonebook is an important source of information for the majority of older people who do not use computers."

More information is available online at www.phonebookoptout.ie

Irish Independent

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