Open internet access group, Free Press, is petitioning the US Federal Communications Commission on the issue of Apple, at AT&T's mandate, restricting Skype and other App Store VoIP applications from running over the 3G network.

Currently, apps like the million downloaded Skype can only run on WiFi, which limits their usefulness as on-the-go communication tools (not everywhere has available WiFi connections, and they don't switch gracefully as you move from point to point).

While I personally long for the days when telcos and ISP's become like power utilities -- dumb pipes pumping unrestricted bits that we can do what we want with, no matter where we are within their territory -- WSJ presents the "counter argument":

Wireless providers, such as Clearwire Corp., have successfully argued they should be able to prevent customers from using some bandwidth-hogging Internet services, like file-sharing, because their wireless networks have capacity issues.

Sure, networks need to protect their cash flow enough that they can maintain their current infrastructure, develop and deploy future generations of technology, and earn a fair profit doing both. But surely that can be balanced by opening up traffic on those networks to any legitimate use, within purchased limits, at fair prices for consumers?

Or don't we think SlingPlayer should be allowed to stream, or Skype should be allowed to run over 3G?