Since 1880, the year after the public telephone service was introduced into Great Britain, BT’s Phone Book has been an essential resource to find contact information for people/businesses. However, after more than 140 years, BT will no longer distribute free copies of its Phone Book. Given the increase in digital search solutions, less households are relying on a physical phone book, and instead going online to find the same information.

The digital era calls for adaptive measures, and BT’s decision serves as a proactive step towards meeting contemporary needs and environmental responsibilities. With low demand and the high environmental impact of printing and distributing hard copies, BT will cease production of its Phone Book from April 2024, a move that will not only save 6,000 tonnes of paper every year – the equivalent of 72,000 trees, but also help BT reach their net zero target by 2030.

Director of BT’s portfolio businesses, Faisal Mahomed, said: “This is a positive change, and it’s something many of our customers have been asking us for. However, it’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly. We 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, we have consulted with Ofcom and are proactively putting measures in place to support these customers.” This includes a pdf version of the phone book, which can be downloaded from the BT website soon. Gamma have since confirmed that BT’s Phone Book will be published in April so that will be the last charges they receive from Openreach. They will pass these charges onto customers in the May 2024 dated invoice.

The discontinuation of BT’s Phone Book also reflects a broader trend of transitioning from traditional advertising methods, such as ‘Special Phone Book Entries’ (SPBEs), towards more cost-effective and efficient online avenues. In the past, customers have paid for a SPBEs to promote their business and phone number through a higher profile listing or by enabling them to put their number in an adjacent phone book area. However, the rising costs associated with SPBEs coupled with increased online searches and now BT’s retirement of the book itself, means SPBEs are no longer a worthwhile advertising strategy.

BT is also planning to switch off all ISDN and PSTN lines in 2025 in favour of digital communications. This means that businesses will need to migrate to more advanced and efficient communication technologies such as FFTP and hosted VoIP. Fortunately, ARO can design and configure bespoke IP telephony systems for your business. Using IP technology to simplify and integrate various forms of communication, voice, video, and messaging can be found on a single platform for enhanced productivity and seamless hybrid working.

Whether it’s cutting costs, improving the quality of calls or more collaborative ways of working, ARO ensures clients have the technology and coverage they need to keep their businesses connected in an ever-evolving digital world. Contact us to discuss your digital transformation journey or take a look at our wide range of collaboration solutions here.