I was explaining to a VC pal yesterday at lunch about the idea of locked cell phones vs. unlocked phones. Here in the USA most people buy their phone from their carrier and get a "carrier approved" phone vs. how it's done in Europe, where you can either take what the carrier has promoted, or buy the phone you want, get a SIM and go.
So when I read Mr. Blog's post this morning, I couldn't think of a more appropriate analogy.
David's post about Open Telephony is spot on. The carriers are offering consumers and business nothing but dumb pipe these days, and until we see FTTH/FTTP (circa 2008) they really won't be offering us much more than the cable guys do. Their chase to be the cable company is all rather amusing. Instead of being a playground for next generation applications and services, they keep the closed up, walled garden operations up and running. The cable guys on the other hand for the most part say, "here, use this pipe and show us what you want" and then go out and make moves to be even better.
With Muni WiFi and WiMax also taking hold rather quickly, the alternatives, and the companies that fuel those new markets will be the playground for what David is referring to, but if the Bells embraced what he was saying they would keep more customers and be future proofing their new offerings.