March 2024 will see the last UK phone books in print version

Since 1880, the Phone Book has been synonymous with BT. For many years it was an essential resource and the only way to find contact information for a person or business. But times have changed and, today, it’s easy to find this information at the click of a mouse or the tap of a smartphone.

 With the explosion in data and choice of devices over the past decade, and the increased digitisation of services, the printed Phone Book has now become a memory for many.

In fact, BT still print 18 million Phone Books every year, but with dwindling demand and the high environmental impact of printing and distributing these hard copies, BT have decided that March 2024 will see the last books rolling off the print run.

It’s a move that will have a positive impact on the environment: helping to save around 6,000 tonnes of paper every year – the equivalent of 72,000 trees. It will also help them progress towards BT Group’s target to become a Net Zero business by 2030.

BT said this is a positive change, and it’s something many of their customers have been asking for. However, it’s not a decision they have taken lightly. BT know there are a small number of customers who may still rely on a printed Phone Book. To make sure they aren’t left behind, they have consulted with Ofcom and are proactively putting measures in place to support these customers.

Firstly, they will be sending a message in Phone Books to ask people to keep hold of them (only a small amount of information changes year-on-year), so they will still be largely relevant for several years to come. Those who really need a printed phone book will be able to order one at a reasonable cost, and they will also be hosting a PDF version of the Phone Book available to download from their website. Not resting on this, they will be proactively reaching out to relevant charities to ask how they can support their users as much as possible as we move towards the last printed copies in spring next year.

Jason Davies

I am one of the editors here at I am a UK based technology professional, with an interest in computer security and telecoms.

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