You ain't seen nothin' yet... Actually it is understated: the net is redefining institutions as ancient as the nation state.
It is the core of it, the part that is revolutionary in social terms, the part that allows the rest of the revolution to be used in the cause of human freedom rather than enslavement.
It represents a new social paradeigm.
A universal regulatory framework is anathema to what the internet stands for. It won't work because the net will fight back against any attempt at centralized control. The net is about freedom, not about 1984.
Destroy it. The internet is about individuals bypassing the nation state and interacting one on one, or grouping together as they so chose to accomplish the ends they so chose.
Because it is less infested with government. I could go on at extreme length on this topic, having lived there during the earliest days of the net.
It offers an opportunity to them. The best approach is for them to go for satellite links into their universities so students have access to the latest technical papers and the world academic community. They have been priced out of the running on journals, but for the price of a year of a couple western journals they can have an internet ready workstation.
The biggest problem they face is that the internet will be correctly seen as the worst threat ever to corrupt and poorly run governments. Nothing could be worse than what will happen when people find out they are badly off not because of someone on the other side of the world - who is now a friend in daily communications - but by the fault of those close at hand.
Don't waste tears over them. They'll be replaced by fast moving entrepreneurs.
Think of it as a redistribution of wealth.
Security. Governments are fighting tooth and claw to prevent the use of truely secure means of transactions. Use of PGP gains you a transaction security and privacy nearly equivalent to that of cash. Since everyone knows exactly why the US government wants weak codes, many would rather not give up existing privacy for a world in which foriegn and domestic spy agencies can violate you at will.
Advertising, mass media and entertainment in the short run. Direct sales and sale of custom manufactured products ordered direct from the factory in the slightly longer term.
Copyright is unresurrectably dead. It will take years and billions of dollars before it finally sinks in that the dike is gone - but it is indeed gone.
Publishing and media will have to change drastically. The chain from factory to retail will be broken. Why buy a CD or tape locally when you can order it from a major house and have your own copy within seconds of first hearing it?
It will allow writers to publish world wide without publishers or printers.
It will allow musicians and songwriters to distribute their recordings without the help of Sony, etc. Although not without the help of top quality sound engineers - those who assist in the execution of the creative process will still be in great demand.
Free lance newswriters can publish directly to NewsShare servers from which they get paid directly by the end user who's agent software selects his work for inclusion in the end user's personal daily newspaper, or in newspapers or newsletters edited by those whose judgement of quality and relevance is trusted.
The range of home electronics products will decrease to some extant - it all collapses into one sort of standard box. If you have high quality stereo audio and high definition digital video outputs and inputs on home machines and interconnection rates that allow them to be used effectively, the world of consumer electronics changes rather drastically.
And I could go on...
No. There may well be some data trunk lines, but internet will be the primary route to the desktop workstation. We can expect that new technology will push that band width ever higher, and that new fast protocols will exist at the MAC levels, but IP will be what comes into the workstation or home network.
Some of this is social and political. Internet empowers individuals and undermines aristocracies (regardless of what sort of title they use, whether corporate president, commisar or lord). Individuals who have once discovered this will not easily surrender it.
There are several things going on at once. The rapidity of exponential growth means that all providers at all levels must race to keep up. This is the primary reason for unreliabilities and instabilities in the global internet. There is just no time to catch a breath. Hiring more people doesn't help because they simply aren't there to be hired.
I expect to see massive increases in bandwith. This is driven by market economics. As the demand rises, higher bandwidth lines become feasible. Growth will also force - and fund - greater redundancy. In a few years there will be very little chance of a single point failure disconnecting any significant part of the European or North American nets from any other part. By that time the center of rapid growth will have shifted to China, India, and others.
Higher bandwidths along with better methods of compression will bring live point to point video into being. PGP will make it private so that families, lovers or whatever can talk across a planet with as much privacy as they could across a room. This is particularly relevant to places like Ireland where so many families *are* spread across the planet from Ireland to London to Canada, America, Austrailia New Zealand...
It is going to be a very different world.
There is a choice coming to the internet that could change "heaven" into Hell.
If strong encryption is kept out of the hands of individuals, we will start the slide to 1984 and a world in which every instant and every facet of every human being can be monitored continuously and stored forever without their knowledge or consent. Those in power in democracies today might not abuse it, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is the dystopia of much fiction. I find this potential future so utterly horrifying that I would just about stop at nothing to prevent it from coming about. There can never be compromise with Big Brother.
If we manage to distribute freedomware like PGP widely enough, we will win a world in which the spectre of 1984 has been forever banished.
In the process we will also destroy every totalitarian or paternalistic government on earth. Dictators cannot exist without control of communication between their victims.
I consider those who are against strong encryption as either unutterably evil or impossibly naive. In either case they deserve neither our respect nor our obedience.