AT&T to charge per-lookup for 800-directory

Rohit Khare (
Wed, 23 Jul 1997 15:43:40 -0400

Fascinating misstep. Did you know half of US LD traffic is toll-free? And
what's with everyone piling on to NASCAR this year ("the most brand-loyal
sports fans out there").

ObMunchkin implication: if half the time caller pays, and the other half,
callee pays, then we have statistical evidence bandwidth can be proxied for
value as a barter currency, in the large... that is to say, if money had to
flow across a link to push bits or pull them, it would balance out.


Changes in the AT&T Toll Free Directory May Dramatically Increase Cost For
800 Number Owners

UDSI Announces Flat Rate Alternative

HURST, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 22, 1997--AT&T has filed a tariff
revision to change Toll-Free Directory Service that becomes effective with
the August billing.

The monthly charge to list the 800/888 number for customers of Responsible
Organizations (RESP ORGS) will change from a monthly flat rate, on a per
listing basis, to a $3.00 flat fee per month plus a usage charge of
$0.37277 each time a Toll-Free number is given to a caller. Some RESP ORGS
or long distance carriers currently provide the listings at no charge or
simply pass through the actual monthly fee. The new rate scheme precludes
the RESP ORG or carrier from budgeting the expense of their individual
800/888 customer listing because it will fluxuate depending on the number
of inquiries during any given month. In addition, the per caller charge
will dramatically increase the cost of maintaining a listing in the AT&T
Toll-Free 800-555-1212 directory. The cost for the listing service would
increase a whopping 300% if a company had an average of only 4 inquiries
per day during the month. The most popular listed companies could see
monthly fees in the thousands of dollars (based on the multiple number of
times the telephone number is give to callers) versus the previous flat
monthly charge of $14.07.

Universal Directory Services, Inc. (UDSI) announced that its Toll-Free
Directory service will continue to be offered for the flat fee of $9.95 per
month. In addition, due to the new rate developments, UDSI has decided to
extend its exclusive wholesale offering to RESP ORGS and long distance
carriers through August 1997. Unlike AT&T, UDSI will also accept listings
directly from 800/888 customers. Currently the service is available on the
Internet at . The live operator service will be
fully operational by the fourth quarter, with initial services beginning in
September 1997.

UDSI offers Toll-Free Directory service through its alternative access
number: 1-800-555-1414.

Consumer awareness advertising will begin in September 1997 with ads in
major national publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, as well as
broadcast, cable and direct satellite television. In 1998 further consumer
awareness will be accomplished through sponsor participation in
entertainment and sporting events, including NASCAR.

Additional information may be obtained by contacting UDSI, a subsidiary of
PCS at 1-800-414-4442.

Rohit Khare /// MCI Internet Architecture (BOS) ///
Voice+Pager: (617) 960-5131  VNet: 370-5131   Fax: (617) 960-1009