State stops requiring annual phone books

Alaska telephone companies will not have to produce annual phone books starting in 2016.

The Juneau Empire reports a regulation signed by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot on Wednesday removes the requirement.

Phone books are getting thinner as people increasingly replace landlines with cell phones. The state’s larger phone companies have been pushing for the change since at least 2012.

A bill signed in 2014 removed phone book authority from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, which had required the directories since 1979.

Alaska Telephone Association Director Christine O’Connor says it is unlikely consumers will notice an immediate difference, especially in rural areas where small phone systems and unreliable cell service keep phone books in demand.

Mallot’s action takes effect Jan. 1.

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