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Time to say goodbye to phone books?

Time to say goodbye to phone books?

Sunday 05 December 2021

Time to say goodbye to phone books?

Sunday 05 December 2021

When was the last time you used a telephone directory? Are they a waste of paper in the digital age? Or would we be worse off if they were scrapped for good?

Seeking answers to those questions is Jersey’s competition authority (JCRA), which has launched a review to assess future demand for phone books, and whether the licence conditions placed on operators to provide them should remain or change.

"We are aware that the use of directory information services has generally been declining. Most people use their mobile phone to store regularly called numbers or search the internet to find those of businesses or organisations they want to call,” explained JCRA CEO Tim Ringsdore.

"We don't know to what extent these trends are affecting use of directory information services in Jersey, but it seems reasonable to assume the need for these services is changing and we want to get a better understanding of what is happening to ensure consumer choice is protected if necessary.” 

telecoms telephones mobile telecommunications

Pictured: As technology has moved on, has the need for telephone directories lessened?

He continued: "[Our review] starts as an information gathering exercise with no predetermined outcomes. We believe this piece of work, which we plan to complete during 2022, will benefit consumers, organisations, Government and licensed operators by providing a clear picture of how directory information services are needed and used, and that will inform the next step of the review process."

Meanwhile, the JCRA is moving to the next stage in its consultation about preventing nuisance calls.

The Authority launched its consultation in August 2021 in response to the increasing number of phone scams being operated by fraudsters using bogus phone numbers.

Call Line Identification (CLI) facilities allow someone to see the caller's number and decide whether to accept or reject the call. They also help regulators and enforcement agencies with the identification, tracing, and prevention of unwanted nuisance calls, which can cause annoyance and in some cases distress for consumers. 

The first step of the consultation process asked for views and comments on the importance of the review. The responses were broadly positive and there was support for the Authority to continue the process, with the next step being the publication of its decisions on the matter. 

fraud scam call

Pictured: The CLI consultation launched over summer after islanders reported increasing numbers of scam calls.

"Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in their methods, and we regularly hear about telephone scams that trick people into thinking they are speaking to their bank, a government department or other official body and therefore give up sensitive information to the fraudsters," Mr Ringsdore said.

"We believe we have a role to play in protecting islanders against telephone-based fraud and the first phase showed our action is both supported and appreciated. 

"This is a high priority for us, and we have now published a draft decision setting out what we intend to do next. We want the public and other stakeholders to have their say and would encourage them to feed into the process before we reach our final conclusions - but ultimately our objective is to give islanders greater protection against telecoms-based fraud now, and in the future." 

The Authority is following its formal consultation process for the CLI review, which involves several rounds of public consultation before any final changes are made to licences issued to local telecoms operators, or directions set out for them to follow. 

Click HERE to take part in the Directory Services Review and HERE for the Call Line Identification Review.

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Posted by gordon le claire on
what about people who do not use smart phones and rely on a normal telephone
Posted by Simon Langlois on
All around the World for the last few years, telephone companies have been permitted to stop printing and delivering paper phone books, mainly because they are rarely used by most customers.

More importantly, we are in a government declared Climate Emergency!  This should override all other factors in the Review.  The requirement for JT to povide the Jersey Directory in printed form should be removed immediately, still leaving the two remaining sources of telephone information - the online portal and directory enquiries.

As part of a transition, perhaps they could have a limited number of printed directories available on request for the minority of people that still use them, resulting in a much smaller print run. It would probably encourage people to let their 'fingers do the walking' (old BT ad) on their phone screen or keyboard, rather than on pages made from chopped down trees.

I can't believe that the JCRA is saying that they want to "ensure consumer choice is protected if necessary." All organisations should have the climate emergency at the forefront of their decision-making and there should be no question (or review) about the removal of the legal requirement for JT to have to unnecessarily print and deliver mostly unused phone books every year. Just remove the requirement - We're in a climate emergency!
Posted by Keith Marsh on
I am probably cynical but it does sound like a massive cost saving idea from JT.
I'm all for it, especially as Simon states it reduces the demand for paper and thus saves trees, however for those who don't own fancy smartphones ~ Directory Enquiries in Jersey should be a Free Service.
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