PSC halts Verizon plan to jettison white pages
Commission tells phone company to give customers more time, information
Maryland's Public Service Commission has rejected Verizon's plan to stop dropping white pages phone books on most doorsteps in the state in January.
But the PSC's action, taken last week, leaves the door open to ending white page directory deliveries.
The regulatory panel expressed concerns about giving "appropriate notification" to residential customers and asked Verizon to revise its plan to educate customers about the change.
Verizon's proposal, submitted to the PSC in September, would have made residential listings generally available to the public only on its website, but would have provided customers a paper or CD-ROM copy of the white pages by request.
The company says a small proportion of its customers rely on printed phone books and that most use online listings.
Verizon also touts the benefit to the environment of not printing and disposing of such large, often unwanted, phone books.
In response to the PSC order, Verizon will continue delivering the white pages directory for now "while exploring our options," Sandy Arnette, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mail Monday.
Regulators have approved similar requests from Verizon to stop distributing printed white pages in many states, including Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida.
In Dorchester and Garrett counties, Verizon had planned to continue providing residential listings in directories that the company distributes to customers.