End-to-end is part of Internet history, but so is traffic differentiation. On the one hand, some forms of discrimination at the packet level are constructive. Applications have different needs and it’s good for networks to provide them with the type of service they desire.
If net neutrality is what its supporters say it is – the best overall way of setting expectations and managing Internet service agreements, it should be expected to become self-executing at some point. I think we passed that point about ten years ago, but we will see what we will see.
The nice thing about focusing on wireless for the final leg of the extended broadband system is that it doesn’t duplicate effort or waste money. Despite the glory of fiber optic networks, people want mobility. So wireless is going to be part of the solution regardless. Why don’t we just accept that and concentrate on building the best wireless networks first and fill in with fiber only when and where it’s truly needed?
As a technical matter, it is the case that the Internet is more like cable TV than the telephone network. While the Internet does support interpersonal communication, its primary role is publishing audio, video, pictures, and text. And like cable TV, it’s a platform in which advertising is a very important source of revenue.
You can count on rural networks being built out of a variety of wireless technologies in present and near future. As needs for capacity increase, signal processing systems that enable more efficient sharing will keep the rural folks ahead of the tsunami.