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News Every Day |

‘A sign of the times’ sob fans as BT to axe free popular service from this month after 140 years

BT fans are devastated as a free popular service running for 140 years has been axed.

The company announced the cancellation of their iconic feature last month, which was met with backlash from disappointed customers.

x/twitter
Fans were saddened to hear the iconic phone book had been scrapped[/caption]

From April, there will no longer be paper copies of the BT Phone Book posted through the letterbox.

The directory, which has had a place in homes since 1880, will now only be available online.

BT attribute the move to dwindling popularity and their goal to be net zero by 2030.

The company claimed cutting the phone book will save around 6,000 tonnes of paper each year – equivalent to 72,000 trees.

They have followed in the footsteps of fellow industry giant, Yellow Pages, as it delivered its final paper edition in early 2019 after launching 51 years before.

Meanwhile, Argos also announced they would be cancelling their printed catalogue in 2020.

It comes as more customers turn to sourcing their information online, but this could prove more difficult to those without internet access.

A BT spokesperson said BT printed 18million copies of the phone book every year.

But, as paper-based advertising has plummeted, the number of households using the directory had also dropped.

They added: “For those who still need a printed phone book, this will be available on demand and for a subsidised cost for the first year.

“We will also host a PDF version available for download.”

The subsidised copy will cost £10 plus postage for the first year then at-cost price after.

Customers will be able to find the PDF version on BT’s website.

One, sharing a picture of their most recent copy on Facebook, said: “Came in the post today.

“Funny to think it’s the last one ever, to those younger it’s rather like Google closing down.

“Sad to think we will no longer experience that frisson of excitement as the new phone book drops through the letter box.”

Another added: “Anyone get their last ever phone book from BT? End of an era.”

“We received our last phone book this week. What’s everyone’s thoughts on this? A sign of the times I suppose,” a third agreed.

Someone else posted: “End of an era, remember how big they were once upon a time!”

Anthony Brown, MP for South Cambridgeshire, posted his opinion on Facebook: “A changing of the guard from an institution that began in 1880, with just 248 entries (and, strangely, no phone numbers!) and has bowed to the joint pressures of the internet age and the mobile phone, amongst others.

“Will anyone miss the phone book?”

BT HISTORY

The broadband and telephone provider first launched its paper phone book in 1880.

It has since been printed every year, apart from a brief break between 1913 and 1920.

The first national phone book was printed in 1896, containing 1,350 pages and 81,000 entries.

By 1900, the directory had started featuring double columns due to the sheer number of entries inside.

But, the company announced last May the higher environmental impact of printing and distributing was one of the reasons it would cull the paper version.

Fans were also shocked to see BT ditch traditional home phones for millions of customers last November.

Meanwhile, millions of BT customers could get up to £500 in compensation thanks to a major class action lawsuit.

And, the broadband and telephone provider has announced a major plan to convert thousands of old phone boxes into something exciting.

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