17 December 2013 - Come 1 April 2014, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) will be implementing several changes to Directory Services. Key changes include the removal of the regulatory requirement to provide the residential listing for published directories; the removal of charges for the Number Unlisting Service; and the provision of three free directory enquiries per month for each fixed-line subscriber.
Singapore, 17 December 2013 | For Immediate Release
Changes reflect underutilisation of residential phone books, highlights lifestyle changes
Come 1 April 2014, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) will be implementing several changes to Directory Services1. Key changes include the removal of the regulatory requirement to provide the residential listing for published directories2; the removal of charges for the Number Unlisting Service3; and the provision of three free directory enquiries4 per month for each fixed-line subscriber.
Aside from the above changes, the Fixed-Line Operators5 are still required to continue to provide the business listing for published directories, although they may publish them in printed or electronic form. Consumers can still use the "Service 100" Directory Enquiry service to request for public residential and business numbers.
These changes follow IDA's completion of its review of the regulatory requirement for Directory Services, taking into account public feedback received through the public consultation.
IDA's objective of reviewing the regulatory requirement for Directory Services is to determine its continued relevance in view of technology, market and lifestyle changes over the decades since these requirements were first introduced. Statistics show that the collection of the published directories fell by more than 80 per cent over the last five years for both residential and business directories. In 2011, approximately nine per cent of the total subscriber base, or 165,000 subscribers, collected the printed and CD-ROM versions of the directories.
IDA also took into account the changes in consumer behaviour and needs, and how current practices such as the publication of the residential listing may give rise to concerns over disclosure and use of individuals' personal information.
While the publication of the residential listing is no longer a regulatory requirement, Fixed-Line Operators may choose to continue providing the residential listing on a voluntary or commercial basis. However, the operators will have to comply with the Personal Data Protection Act relating to the collection, use, and disclosure of data for individuals. The operators will have to seek their subscribers' consent to be included in the residential listing when the latter sign up for any fixed-line telephone services.
In view of subscribers' interest to better protect their personal data and to be in line with the Personal Data Protection Act, IDA will require Fixed-Line Operators to allow their subscribers a one-time free-of-charge Number Unlisting Service so that the subscriber's information is not available under the Published Directories and the "Service 100" Directory Enquiry service. This requirement will apply to any Directory Services offered by the Fixed-Line Operator, regardless of whether the operators choose to do this on a voluntary/commercial basis, or to meet IDA's regulatory requirement. The operators may charge a nominal one-time administrative fee for their subscribers' subsequent listing or unlisting requests.
However, recognising that a small number of consumers may still use the published directories to check for residential numbers occasionally, Fixed-Line Operators are required to offer three free directory enquiries per month to each fixed-line subscriber to further mitigate the impact of the removal of the regulatory requirement to provide the residential listing for published directories. This change will allow each fixed-line subscriber to request for three public fixed-line telephone numbers every month at no charge. Based on IDA's household survey6 results on the usage of the printed directories and directory enquiry services, three free directory enquiries per month is sufficient for the average directory user.
For detailed information on the changes, please refer to the fact sheet on IDA's review of its regulatory requirement for Directory Services.
ISSUED BY CORPORATE AND MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS DIVISION
INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
The mission of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is to develop information technology and telecommunications within Singapore with a view to serve citizens of all ages and companies of all sizes. IDA does this by actively supporting the growth of innovative technology companies and start-ups in Singapore, working with leading global IT companies as well as developing excellent information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, policies and capabilities for Singapore. For more news and information, visit www.ida.gov.sg.
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Notes to Editor:
1 Directory Services refer to the Published Directories (residential and business listings), and the "Service 100" Directory Enquiry service.
2 The Published Directories, more commonly known as telephone books, are also referred to as the White Pages. They come in two parts: a residential listing and a business listing. The Published Directories may be produced in either printed or electronic form (e.g., CD-ROM or online). They do not include the Yellow Pages, the provision of which is not a requirement by IDA.
3 Today, the Fixed-Line Operators charge their subscribers a combination of a one-time fee and/or recurring fee to be unlisted from the Directory Services database so that the subscribers' numbers will not be available.
4 Each directory listing (i.e., each number) is considered as one enquiry.
5 Licensed Facilities-Based Operators who offer fixed-line telephony services.