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PSC allows Cincinnati Bell to reduce white pages directories

Internet usage reduces need for printed copies of white pages, which may now go only to customers by request only

By Andrew Melnykovych

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has found that a plan by Cincinnati Bell Telephone Co. to distribute printed White Pages directories only to those customers who make a specific request for the directories complies with state law.

In an order issued today, the PSC found the Cincinnati Bell plan meets the statutory requirement that certain phone companies continue to provide subscriber access to directories. The PSC noted that Cincinnati Bell will make the contents of the directory available on the Internet, while existing and new customers who request a printed directory will receive one at no charge.

Moving to reliance on Internet for phone numbers has advantages

"Moving to a greater reliance on the Internet for telephone directory information has several advantages," PSC Chairman David Armstrong said. "The directory information is more up-to-date and the energy and environmental impacts associated with producing and distributing printed directories are reduced."

In its order, the PSC noted that Internet access is not universal for Kentucky telephone customers. Therefore, there may be many customers who prefer and rely upon traditional printed directories. The PSC ordered Cincinnati Bell to undertake an extensive public information campaign to inform customers of the switch to an electronic directory and their right to continue receiving a printed directory upon request.

The PSC also directed Cincinnati Bell to continue to include the listings of emergency and government information in the Yellow Pages directory, which will continue to be distributed to all customers in the Northern Kentucky area. The PSC said that those listings will provide access to vital information in the event of power outages or other emergencies that may disrupt Internet access.

Cincinnati Bell also will provide free copies of the published directories at all of its retail stores in the Cincinnati area. The PSC encouraged the company to also consider making the directories available at non-Cincinnati Bell stores and businesses.

Cincinnati Bell provides telephone service in Boone, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton and Pendleton counties in Northern Kentucky. Most of the company's customers are in Ohio, primarily within Cincinnati, Dayton and surrounding areas.

Cincinnati Bell is local exchange carrier

Cincinnati Bell is an incumbent local exchange carrier, which means that it owns and operates most of the telephone infrastructure within a defined service area. There are other telephone companies also providing service in Northern Kentucky.

Those companies are known as competitive local exchange carriers and operate under "interconnection agreements" with Cincinnati Bell. The agreements govern their access to the Cincinnati Bell network.

The interconnection agreements usually include provisions under which Cincinnati Bell supplies White Pages directories to the customers of the competitive carriers. It will be up to Cincinnati Bell and the competitive carriers to determine how White Pages will be provided to those customers in the future.

CB first KY incumbent local exchange carrier to reduce white pages

Cincinnati Bell is the first incumbent local exchange carrier in Kentucky to move away from traditional distribution methods for White Pages directories. In January of this year, the Ohio Public Utilities Commission approved a similar request covering Cincinnati Bell's Ohio customers.

Today's order and other documents in the case are available on the PSC Web site, The case number is 2009-00029.

The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky and has approximately 100 employees.

This story was posted on 2009-04-20 17:48:02
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