This, from, is my optimistic picture of the future of phone:

For the privilege of making phone calls with your iPhone, you have to pay $100 more upfront to Apple for the device itself, plus a minimum of $60/month to AT&T for the next two years. Let';s say you didn't need that kind of firepower from your iPod touch, but that you would like to use it make a phone call every now and then. You can, and today I'm going to show you how to make VoIP phone calls from your iPod touch or iPhone using a freeware application called SIP-VoIP.

That's the power of unregulated bandwidth, even with the tiny hole in legislation that 802.11 utilizes. Imagine if people were able to create radio towers that gave wifi. I've used a shortwave modem before, which isn't nearly fast enough for voice, but gives me some idea of the power of wide area to add to unregulated methods of wireless (read:"radio") transmission.

There are already dedicated wifi Skype (and other service) phones, but by themselves they don't take off. The beauty of digital is ease of bundling functions into one device. the iPod touch, unlocked to run Skype or the like, should really make AT&T squirm and Apple salivate. Where is my officially supported iLongDistance?

What drives me mad is that there's no reason we can't all have inexpensive wifi phones in our pockets right now that use free online voice chat services to get our talk across. It's painful that whatever the heck Web 2.0 becomes, it seems to be trending away from F/free and towards erecting as many barriers to entry for the little feller as possible. That wifi even exists is a mixed blessing for these corps. It's been a great frontier for experimentation, and has shown corporations where there's money to be made on larger scales, but to do so, F/free wifi has had to keep enough room to be a competitor for those same corps' markets.

I'd like to see the US government deregulate a large portion of, heck, I don't know, the TV spectrum to allow anyone to do whatever they want short of intentional jamming. I think we'd all be happy with the results. Well, minus a few unimaginative CEOs and their employees.