How your cellphone portends the future
There's lots of theory running around the Internet about what things might look like if Net Neutrality is taken away from us. The free-market-willy-nilly folks seem to think that an Internet stripped of basic connection requirements -- my network can talk to your network at a fundamental level -- will inspire loads of innovation and whiz-bang tech to knock our socks off.
If only we had a real-life example to show them just how silly that idea is... Wait! We do! Our cellphone networks!
NewsForge has an excellent article that details what happens when private companies control what goes out on the network, and prevents users from making those choices. They compare starting a peer-to-peer news service (like Slashdot or Digg) on the current Internet (total time: about two hours), to the hell one must sludge through to get a new service onto various cellphone networks. Some excerpts: