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.