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.”
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.
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.
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