LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Fixed phones as ornamental objects? In the US??

In 1998, I was trying to improve the atrocious quality of service offered by Sri Lanka Telecom. My efforts included persuasion: I brought in a quality advocate from BC Tel, a Canadian telecom operator, and organized a public lecture. There, I recall responding to the main criticism made of my efforts by SLT engineers that I was imposing unrealistic American standards of quality on Sri Lanka. I said that no one obtains a phone to keep in the house as an ornamental object; that they went to all the trouble of obtaining a phone in order to talk to people and for that, they needed dialtone.

You can imagine my surprise when I see a New York Times writer saying that fixed phones in America are becoming ornamental objects. It’s not that they are rooting out the copper lines or fiber; but that it does not make sense to have phones that are fixed to walls (except in baseball dugouts and places such as that).

The seed-strewn dugouts of baseball stadiums around the country may very well end up the final bastions of corded communication in this wireless era.

While landlines in homes collect dust and serve increasingly decorative functions, the attitude among baseball clubs is a familiar one in a sport tied tightly to old-fashioned ways: why change what works?

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